Green take-offs at Copenhagen Airport have resulted in annual reductions of 32,000 tonnes of CO2
(photo: Copenhagen Airports)
Mon 21 Sep 2009 – Whilst there has been considerable focus recently on continuous descent approaches, or ‘green landings’, every day there are hundreds of flights performing ‘green take-offs’ at Copenhagen Airport. The airport believes the environmental and cost benefits from green take-offs are higher than those for green landings. Aircraft climb continuously to their optimal operating level and turn onto the planned route earlier than normal. Data analysis by Eurocontrol has shown that employing this procedure has saved on an annual basis some 10,000 tonnes of fuel and cut CO2 emissions by nearly 32,000 tonnes.
Naviair, the organization responsible for air traffic management services in Danish airspace, permits 95% of all aircraft taking off from Copenhagen Airport to climb continuously to a fuel-economic level, a so-called ‘continued-climb departure’, and also gives the aircraft permission to turn onto the planned route at an earlier point than was previously the practice.
Eurocontrol has conducted a number of computer simulations that show the continuous-climb concept saves an average of 200 kilos of fuel per departure, corresponding to a reduction of around 620 kilos of CO2, plus lower emissions of other harmful compounds.
“We consider it very positive that the Naviair air traffic controllers have developed this unique concept,” said Andrew Watt of Eurocontrol. “Our simulations document that it results in quite substantial fuel savings and thus also a reduced environmental impact. We can only support the air traffic management companies in individually developing the best and most efficient solutions for their particular areas.”
The deviation from the standard procedure is possible because of the airport’s location, which has water on three sides. Most other European airports have urban areas on several sides, which makes it necessary to employ a few well-defined take-off routes and allow aircraft to climb only gradually to their various flying levels.
“That we have the option of using green take-offs is a result of the airport’s unique location. But extensive use of the procedure is a deliberate choice by the air traffic management service and the airport to handle traffic in a very flexible manner and with as little environmental impact as possible without compromising safety,” said Naviair Director Morten Dambæk.
“We have presumably already achieved optimal conditions with respect to green take-offs, but we are working constantly on improving our services, and the next specific initiative will be the establishment of five new so-called waypoints, which reduce the length of the aircraft approach and thus also result in lower fuel consumption. We also generally follow a ‘green direct’ approach, always trying to give aircraft the most direct route to their destinations.”
Henrik Peter Jørgensen, Communications VP at Copenhagen Airports, said: “Climate and environmental impact are on the agenda in the aviation industry, including a focus on green landings, a procedure that allows the aircraft to glide down slowly before touching down. We also use this technique at Copenhagen Airport, but the environmental benefits are much greater from green take-offs, which the airlines say save three to five times as much on CO2 emissions.”
With the airport expecting to handle around 15,000 delegates attending the UN climate conference in December, it says most of them will enjoy the environmental benefits of green take-offs when they depart afterwards.