Air New Zealand says tailored arrivals initiative at San Francisco has resulted in significant emissions savings
Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER (photo: Boeing)
Fri 13 June 2008 – Since it started the continuous descent trials at San Francisco Airport in January, Air New Zealand reports that it has saved an estimated 22,000kg of fuel and 69,140kg of CO2 emissions. The airline is the first international carrier invited to join the San Francisco Oceanic Tailored Arrivals Trial, which is a joint venture between Boeing, NASA, the FAA and the airport.
Captain David Morgan, the airline’s General Manager Airline Operations and Chief Pilot, said the initiative allowed Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-200ER aircraft to make full use of interlinked onboard and ground technology to descend into the airport, with minimal air traffic control (ATC) intervention. By being able to continuously descend into the airport rather than flying a series of level segments, as required under standard ATC procedures, the aircraft is able to reduce both noise and fuel consumption.
Captain Morgan said the airline had used the full procedure around 30 times and, when the airport was too busy, a partial procedure about 100 times. Each full tailored arrival saves between 300 and 400kg of fuel, he claims, obviously less for the partial procedure.
He said the initiative took on a special significance given the challenges for airlines from the record high cost of fuel, and Air New Zealand’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.
“In a very challenging commercial environment, the potential savings from initiatives such as these are very encouraging,” he commented. “The results we have achieved at San Francisco demonstrate the real difference that efficient, highly automated ATC systems can make to airline operations.”
Captain Mark Shepherd, Boeing 777-200ER captain and Air New Zealand’s Air Traffic Management specialist, said the tailored arrival simplified procedures for pilots and “allows the aircraft automation to maintain the aircraft on the optimum path to the runway.”
Customers, he maintained, would not notice a significant difference when the aircraft was using the tailored arrival, and may be slightly more comfortable due to a more gentle descent and less changes in engine power.