Singapore Airlines completes first ASPIRE multi-sector green flight and saves over 33 tonnes of CO2 emissions
Changi Airport Group and IATA Environment Exhibition at Singapore Changi Airport
Wed 3 Feb 2010 – The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has revealed that the multi-sector demonstration flight from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo conducted by Singapore Airlines saved 10,686kg of fuel and cut carbon emissions by 33,769kg compared to normal practice, as well as achieving a reduction in flight time of 33 minutes. The arrival of the flight on Monday coincided with CAAS formally joining the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) that aims to accelerate the development, implementation and harmonization of air traffic management procedures, technologies and best practices on key routes in the region (see story). With the Singapore Airshow also starting this week, IATA announced that in 2009 intra-Asia-Pacific travel had eclipsed the number of travellers in North America as the world’s largest aviation market.
During the Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight, air navigation service providers in the US and Japan collaborated with CAAS to allow the B747-400 aircraft to operate in optimum air traffic conditions in all phases of the flight.
At the departure phase, priority clearance was given for taxiing and departure with unimpeded take-off without restrictions on speed or aircraft level.
User Preferred Route and Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures were employed during the cruising phase to allow the pilot to capitalize on prevailing wind patterns to alter the aircraft’s flight path to shorten its flight time and achieve greater flight efficiency. In addition, Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures such as a reduction in the lateral and longitudinal flight separation were employed, allowing the aircraft to use preferred flight paths and levels.
Finally, at the arrival phase, the Optimised Profile Descent technique was used to allow the aircraft to fly with engines set at idle in a continuous descent approach to land at Singapore’s Changi Airport. The aircraft was also assigned the shortest possible route from the runway to the parking bay.
“The air traffic management best practices employed for this flight from end-to-end have shown encouraging results,” said Yap Ong Heng, CAAS Director-General. “CAAS, in its role as an air navigation service provider, will work closely with the airlines on how the procedures and techniques used for this ASPIRE flight can be applied to more flights. CAAS will also continue with its efforts and contributions to further improve air navigation to increase flight efficiency and reduce aircraft carbon emissions.”
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) described 2009 as the worst in the industry’s history, with losses of $11 billion following a drop in passenger demand of 3.5% and a decrease in freight traffic of 10.1%. Speaking at the Singapore Airshow, IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani said the Asia-Pacific region would lead the way in bringing a recovery for the industry.
Now the world’s largest aviation market, Asia-Pacific travellers numbered 647 million in 2009 compared with the 638 million who travelled within North America. By 2013, an additional 217 million travellers are expected to take to the skies within Asia-Pacific.
Bisignani said the region’s rapidly developing markets faced opportunities as well as challenges, such as the environment. He called on the Asian aviation industry to work through ICAO to accommodate the diverse needs of the region and to take advantage of the business opportunities in developing sustainable second generation biofuels that had the potential to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint by up to 80%.
“Five airlines have successfully tested biofuels and we expect certification within 2011 at the latest,” he added. “Aviation biofuel is a US$100 billion plus business opportunity. And I hope that this region will play a key role in its early development.”
IATA and Changi Airport Group (CAG) yesterday launched a month-long environment exhibition in the Terminal 3 Departure Hall of Singapore Changi Airport. The exhibition takes visitors on a ‘journey’ from the inception of powered flight to present day aviation in a structure that resembles a futuristic aircraft engine, and illustrates IATA’s four-pillar environment strategy.
“Environment is a top priority for the aviation industry. Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers are united and committed to three sequential targets on environmental performance. These are improving fuel efficiency by an annual average of 1.5% to 2020, stabilizing emissions from 2020 with carbon neutral growth and cutting emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005,” said IATA’s Bisignani at the inauguration. “This stand explains to travellers how the industry will achieve these targets with a strategy that included investment in technology, effective operations, efficient infrastructure and economic measures.”
The exhibition is also designed to highlight what CAG describes as its commitment to the sustainable growth of Singapore’s aviation sector as part of the ‘Changi Goes Green’ drive. Under the initiative, CAG commits to working with airport partners to reduce the impact of the airport’s activities, including test-bedding and implementing green technologies and initiatives. It also aims to create environmental awareness within the airport community and pursue continual improvement in energy efficiency, management of emissions, waste management, water management and noise management.
Said CAG CEO Lee Seow Hiang: “Changi Airport is a busy air hub, with over 37 million passenger movements last year. With all the activities present at the airport, Changi is a key contributor to Singapore’s economy. Together with everyone at the airport, we can steer our business decisions and actions towards making a positive and sustainable impact on the environment and community.”
Commenting at the Airshow, Airbus officials said Asia-Pacific airlines are expected to purchase some 8,000 new passenger and cargo planes worth 1.2 trillion dollars from 2009 to 2028, representing a third of all predicted global deliveries during the period.
“To meet this demand, larger aircraft will be needed to ease congestion and do more with less,” said John Leahy, Airbus COO for Customers.
Rival Boeing estimates Asian demand at 8,900 planes worth 1.1 trillion dollars in the next 20 years. “We think that the Asia-Pacific region will definitely lead in the recovery we see in aviation," said Boeing’s Vice President for Marketing, Randy Tinseth. “Long term, this is the biggest potential market in terms of demand of any region in the world, 31% of all units, 35% of value.” He also said that the majority of the orders would be for large airplanes.
From left: Greg Houghton, ASPIRE coordinator with Airservices Australia; Kevin Chamness, FAA Air Traffic Organization Manager International Strategy & Performance; Captain Eric Pon of Singapore Airlines (who operated the flight from LA via Tokyo); Kuah Kong Beng, CAAS Chief ATC officer; Edmund Heng Cher Sian, Head (ATM), CAAS Air Traffic Services Division (photo: Ian Sheppard)
Capt Gerard Yeap, Singapore Airlines SVP Flight Operations, said that 10,686kg of fuel had been saved on the ASPIRE flight (photo: Ian Sheppard)