American Airlines conducts first US demonstration flight under transatlantic emissions reduction initiative
American Airlines Boeing 767-300 (photo: AMR)
Fri 12 June 2009 – American Airlines yesterday became the first US carrier to test next-generation technology and procedures designed to provide significant reductions in fuel use and carbon emissions under the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE). The testing was conducted during a normal scheduled flight from Paris to Miami using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. AIRE is the first large-scale environmental initiative bringing together aviation players from both sides of the Atlantic, with partners including the FAA, the European Commission, Boeing, Airbus, various air navigation service providers and a number of airlines.
It is designed to speed up the application of new technologies and operational procedures that can have a direct impact on reducing emissions and noise pollution, as well as conserving fuel. Part of the project includes gate-to-gate flight demonstrations to test the benefits of technologies that will be used with the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system.
The American Airlines flight was expected to conduct several fuel conservation measures, including single-engine taxi on departure and arrival, continuous climb out and descent, optimized routing over water and a ‘tailored arrival’. The carrier says that several of these procedures are already key elements of its ongoing Fuel Smart fuel conservation programme. American says it aims to save 120 million gallons of jet fuel this year and reduce its carbon emissions by 2.5 billion pounds (1.13 million tonnes), up from 110 million gallons and 2.3 billion pounds in 2008.
Post-flight data analysis by the FAA, European Commission and the airline will determine the fuel and carbon savings gained on the demonstration flight. The FAA and American will then conduct a two-month trial in Miami to continue testing the next-generation technology and procedures.
“It is critical that the aviation industry works with our air traffic control partners to demonstrate the benefits of NextGen technology today,” said Bob Reding, American’s Executive Vice President – Operations. “By implementing this technology as quickly as possible, we can make real and meaningful strides to reduce our impact on the environment, increase system capacity and reduce air traffic delays.”