New Airservices air traffic flow system reduces delays, fuel and emissions at four Australian airports
(photo: Airservices Australia)
Thu 12 Mar 2015 – A system introduced by Australia’s air traffic organisation Airservices to reduce airborne delays for aircraft arriving at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane airports is delivering annual fuel savings worth A$18.2 million ($14m) and reductions of 54,100 tonnes in aviation CO2 emissions. The system, known as Metron Harmony, has resulted in an annual saving of 8,700 hours in airborne delay time, or an average of 1.1 minute per flight arriving at the four gateway airports, according to a commissioned study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia. With a 60% increase in Australia’s air traffic expected by 2020, the report projects these savings to increase to 14,300 hours, or 1.3 minutes per flight, A$37.3 million ($29m) in annual fuel savings and CO2 reductions of 102,300 tonnes by 2022.
By using weather and scheduling information, the traffic flow system provides advice on the maximum arrival rates at airports and allows domestic aircraft participating in the programme to be held on the ground at the departure airport. Because of the reduced fuel burn and environmental impact, Airservices says this is preferable to aircraft being required to fly in holding patterns before landing.
The system, which cost A$18.8 million ($14.5m) to set up and a further A$60.5 million ($46m) in staff costs over a projected 10-year period, was introduced into operations at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2012 and Perth in 2014. Its implementation forms the first stage of Airservices’ strategy to enhance the application of Collaborative Decision Making in air traffic management within Australia.
PwC said the results of the study and the positive feedback from stakeholders supported the continued roll-out of the Metron system across domestic airports, with it likely the benefits from the investment being increased still further.
The introduction of the system is one of a number of measures government-owned Airservices has introduced in recent years to drive fuel efficiencies, reduce emissions and enhance safety. Other initiatives include greater use of flexible air traffic routes and User Preferred Routes, which allow airlines to maximise their flight routes based on the prevailing weather and forecast winds.