United Airlines becomes first US carrier to undertake fuel and emissions saving ASPIRE flight
Governor Schwarzenegger welcomes United Airlines ASPIRE flight to San Francisco
Mon 17 Nov 2008 – United Airlines became the first US carrier to participate in the trans-Pacific ASPIRE initiative last Friday (Nov 14) when a Boeing 747-400 flight between Sydney and San Francisco undertook 11 gate-to-gate operational procedures, from priority take-off clearance to a tailored arrival, that resulted in savings of 1,564 gallons (5,920 litres) of fuel and 32,656 pounds (14.81 tonnes) of carbon emissions over normal conditions.
ASPIRE (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions) is a partnership which includes Qantas and Air New Zealand, who have each already made one demonstration flight over the past two months, together with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Airservices Australia and Airways New Zealand.
“I am pleased to have seen first-hand the technologies that have helped our state be at the forefront of aviation’s future,” said California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was given a demonstration of the tailored arrival, continuous descent procedure before welcoming the flight at San Francisco International Airport. “The reduction in fuel usage and carbon emissions is another example of businesses both reducing costs and helping the environment.
“A single flight like this, just to show to you, can save thousands of gallons of fuel and also significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, up to like 20 tons. So this is really huge. Imagine what we could save if every one of the thousands of flights every day would do exactly what United has done on this flight from Australia here to San Francisco. I would like to see that also being done all over the world.
“So this is how we will make a tremendous impact. I think it’s time for aviation to move into the future, which requires modernizing air traffic control systems and a commitment to cooperation like that we have seen today. It is the right thing to do for not only the environment but also for our future generations.”
United and partner Boeing have expanded the tailored arrivals programme this year with a substantial increase in the number of flights permitted to conduct the procedure, which is estimated to save around 60 gallons of fuel, says the carrier.
Pete McDonald, United Airlines’ Chief Administrative Officer, commented: “’ASPIRE United’ has demonstrated the tremendous environmental and fuel savings potential if our nation invests in next-generation technology and in updating our air traffic control system. We are pleased to have reached another milestone with our partners as we use safe, modern technology that reduces our carbon footprint.”
Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer, Greg Russell, said: “What this perfect flight demonstrates is an innovative approach to the management of air travel across three areas – improving efficiency en-route, reducing delay on arrival in the terminal airspace and an efficient descent onto the runway.”
The performance measurements from the three flights are expected to provide the foundation for the assessment of future emissions and efficiency initiatives developed within the ASPIRE partnership and the development of a flight benchmark that will demonstrate the maximum potential gains in environmental performance that can be achieved through ASPIRE.