Weather data service from Avtech helps Norwegian save fuel and emissions as well as providing added safety
Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800
Mon 29 Apr 2019 – A weather forecasting service developed by Swedish IT company Avtech has enabled Norwegian Air Shuttle to reduce CO2 emissions by 2,000 tonnes from its Boeing 737-800 fleet over a three-month test period. Avtech’s 10K resolution weather service allows pilots to avoid unfavourable winds at given altitudes during the flight and to start the descent phase at the right moment. No new equipment needs to be installed on the aircraft as all real-time calculations are made on the ground by Avtech. The 10K weather grid is based on the UK Met Office’s high-definition weather modelling system and calculations on a per-flight basis use Avtech’s patented algorithms. The company claims that as well as saving fuel and emissions, the system can provide added safety and help avoid cabin incidents caused by clear air turbulence.
“We saved from one to 80 kilograms of fuel per flight – the average being 22 kilos – purely by optimising the descent phase of the flights,” said Norwegian pilot and project manager Stig Patey. “Our pilots have reportedly been very pleased with the easy-to-use service that in real conditions proved to be much more accurate than the standard weather systems.”
An average saving of 22 kilos of fuel per flight across 33,000 flights a day could result in fuel savings of around 700,000kg per day in Europe alone, estimates Avtech, equivalent to a reduction of over 2 million kilograms of carbon emissions.
The Met Office, alongside the US NOAA, is one of only two World Area Forecast Centres (WAFC) that deliver regulated high-level weather information for aviation services.
“Our Cray supercomputer gathers 215 billion weather observations a day from all over the world, which it then takes as a starting point for running atmospheric models,” said James Guscott, Senior Account Manager at the Met Office. “With Avtech we have developed a solution that allows airlines to benefit from our 10km high resolution source data by application of a 4-dimensional trajectory API. The result is that our big data can be developed into better data for airlines.”
Added David Rytter, Chief Technical Officer at Avtech: “The timeliness and accuracy of our high-definition weather forecasting means that the normal pre-flight package is usually sufficient on shorter flights. On longer flights, updates can be uplinked when necessary, since the files are very small in size.”
The Met Office’s Transport Business Manager, Emma Connett, said: “Weather has always been one of aviation’s greatest hazards and it is becoming even more of a risk as we continue to see an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. As a result, it’s increasingly important that airlines have access to the most up to date weather information available to inform decision-making.”
Avtech says another benefit is that its services are scalable to airlines of different sizes.
“Our service has already proven to be valuable for Norwegian and other customers but we are still at the beginning of a paradigm shift,” said Sören Skog, Marketing Director at Avtech. “In 2017 alone, more than 300 passengers were hospitalised for more than 24 hours due to accidents caused by turbulence, so using our high-definition 10K weather data can help airlines save a lot from different perspectives.”