Airbus and Air France to start A380 transatlantic green flight trials from New York within three months
(photo: Air France)
Thu 9 Sept 2010 – Airbus has released more details on its A380 ‘Transatlantic Green Flight’ (TGF) trials announced by the European SESAR Joint Undertaking in July, which selected 18 new projects to expand the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) programme to a second wave, called AIRE2 (see article). A consortium led by Airbus in partnership with Air France and air navigation service providers from the UK, Canada and the United States (NATS, Nav Canada and the FAA) will commence trials on an Air France A380 on revenue flights from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) commencing within the next three months.
Airbus has also engaged as a partner in two more AIRE2 trials, which involve validating a transition from RNP arrivals to ILS approaches at Sweden’s Gothenburg Landvetter Airport and a further project with Air France.
The A380 TGF flights will cover the optimization of the taxi-out procedure at New York JFK, as well as the en-route leg over the Atlantic, and Airbus estimates that each flight could reduce CO2 emissions by around three tonnes, compared with existing procedures.
The FAA will support Air France to start each trial with a fuel-saving ‘reduced engine taxi’ from the gate to the runway at JFK. This will be enabled via estimates of taxi time, allowing for A380 taxiing powered by only two of its four engines. Meanwhile, NATS and Nav Canada will facilitate the Atlantic portion of the flight, which will reduce CO2 emissions through an optimized trajectory where more flexibility will be arranged for speed, altitude and lateral routing. This trajectory takes advantage of the A380’s high optimum cruise altitude of 39,000 feet and above.
“These transatlantic flight trials will help to move the industry towards more efficient operational concepts and sustainable growth over the longer term,” commented Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus. “What we trial today with the A380 will contribute to setting tomorrow’s standards, thanks to system-wide Air Traffic Management improvements prepared by programmes like SESAR and NextGen.”
The ‘Green Shuttle’ project, in partnership with Air France and the French air navigation service provider DSNA, will seek to optimize all phases of the airline’s ‘La Navette’ flights between Paris-Orly and Toulouse, which are operated with A320 Family aircraft.
The VINGA project follows on from last year’s MINT flight trials that were conducted by Swedish charter airline Novair and the Swedish air navigation service provider LFV at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (see article). The project will, for the first time, validate a transition from a curved RNP 0.3 (Required Navigation Performance) arrival to an ILS approach at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport. It will cover all phases of flight ‘en-route to en-route’ for Novair’s A321s arriving and departing from Landvetter, resulting in an estimated saving of one tonne of CO2 per airport visit.
“Sweden has been a leader in terms of environmental initiatives and the MINT and VINGA projects are very important to prove that RNP AR is an excellent solution to reduce fuel burn and avoid noise sensitive areas,” said Sebastien Borel, Head of Sales and Marketing at Quovadis, Airbus’ RNP services subsidiary. “The RNP AR to ILS transition trial will serve the aviation community tremendously – everyone is waiting to see RNP AR being combined with a final precision approach such as an ILS CAT2.”
For Novair, the use of RNP AR is strategic. “We use GPS navigation instead of fixed radio beacons on the ground, which allows us to minimize the distance flown and also choose a route where we do not disturb so many with aircraft noise,” said Henrik Ekstrand, a pilot with Novair and responsible for the project.