Mon 20 July 2009 – LFV and SAS have today started a week of wide-scale testing of continuous descent approaches (CDAs), or green approaches, throughout Sweden. The technique – which involves an aircraft descending continuously to the airport using almost no engine thrust thus reducing fuel consumption, emissions and noise – was first implemented on a small scale at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in 2006 and has since been refined and developed. The Spanish testing brings together Iberia Airlines, airport and ATC authority AENA and the Ineco transport engineering firm and will determine the environmental benefits of CDAs around airports.
LFV, whose personnel direct all air traffic within Sweden’s airspace, claims that every green approach reduces CO2 emissions by at least 150kg. It has set an environmental goal that by 2012, eight out of ten approaching aircraft will be offered the option of green approaches.
“We are also working continuously to straighten out flight routes,” said Per Fröberg, Information Officer at LFV. “Since last spring, we are able to offer airlines the straightest route possible over northern Sweden which, when fully implemented by 2011, is expected to reduce annual emissions of CO2 by 17,000 tonnes.”
SAS, which is responsible for about 40% of all traffic at Arlanda, is aiming to reduce its own CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. “This goal is achievable through developing, for example, our aircraft fleet, improving airspace infrastructure and incorporating the next generation of sustainable fuels,” said Niels-Eirik Nertun, Head of Environment at SAS Group. “The organization will also adopt other operational activities such as green approaches and introduce competitive neutral financial directives including emission trading rights.”
The Spanish tests will take place during the summer and involve certain Airbus A320s and A340s arriving at Madrid-Barajas Airport during the 00:00 to 06:00 period.
The results of the test study will serve as a tool for drawing up a CDA Implementation Plan for airports in the country, following a detailed analysis of each, in which the characteristics of the airport environment and air traffic demand will be determining factors, said Iberia.
The testing is part of the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) project involving the European Commission and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In Europe, the project is the responsibility of the Single European Sky ATM Research Programme (SESAR) Joint Undertaking which is aimed at deploying a high-performance air traffic management network by 2020. One of its main priorities is to reduce the environmental impact of each flight by 10%.
The initiative involves airlines, air navigation service providers and manufacturers, and will be conducted in several EU countries, including Spain (at Madrid-Barajas), France (at Paris CDG), Portugal and Sweden, in which the phases of more than 200 flights will be studied.