Air France and American Airlines fly first transatlantic green flights in next-generation trials
(photo: Air France)
Fri 9 Apr 2010 – A scheduled Air France Boeing 747-400ER undertook the first gate-to-gate transatlantic ‘green’ flight from Paris to Miami on Tuesday (Apr 6) to demonstrate procedures and technologies optimized to deliver reductions in noise and emissions levels. It was followed on the same route 24 hours later by a scheduled American Airlines Boeing 767-300. The two flights were conducted under the US-EU Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE). Air France said its flight saved two to three tonnes of jet fuel and cut CO2 emissions by six to nine tonnes. During the departure and arrival phases, the airline said the procedures used helped minimize noise levels by up to 7dB.
The flights involved the cooperation of the US FAA, the French DGAC and air navigation service providers along the route.
Procedures adopted by the French carrier included shorter taxiing times at both airports, continuous climb, optimum altitude and speed during the cruise phase, and a continuous descent approach on arrival into Miami.
Air France said that when the optimal procedures are eventually conducted on all its long-haul flights to North America, it expects to save 43,000 tonnes of fuel and cut CO2 emissions by 135,000 tonnes per year.
The American Airline flight included a single-engine taxi on departure and arrival, continuous climb-out and descent, optimized routing over water and a tailored arrival. Among the procedures were elements of the airline’s existing fuel conservation programme, Fuel Smart. Although it has yet to disclose the savings made on yesterday’s flight, American aims to increase its annual overall fuel savings to 120 million gallons in 2010, which it says will reduce carbon emissions by 2.5 billion pounds (1.1 million tonnes).
AIRE is designed to speed up application of new technologies and operational procedures, which have a direct impact on reducing carbon 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 and the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) air traffic management systems.
“It is critical that the aviation industry works with our air traffic control partners to demonstrate the benefits of NextGen technology today. 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,” said BobReding, American’s Executive Vice President - Operations. “Utilizing NextGen technology is also a crucial part of American’s overall environmental and fuel savings efforts, which have already yielded annual fuel savings of more than 110 million gallons and a reduction of 2.2 billion pounds of carbon emissions.”
Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking commented: “I congratulate all the partners involved in this success. Gate-to-gate green flights show that by working together and by making better use of existing technology, we achieve benefits for the environment, airlines and citizens. This is the only way forward and we must do more. Green flights have to become our daily business and cannot remain singular events.”
Meanwhile, to mark France’s annual Sustainable Week, Air France is screening a video onboard its long-haul flights which seeks to demonstrate the airline’s environmental and CSR initiatives.