UK's Birmingham International reports 95 percent of aircraft arrivals now using CDA procedures
Tue 14 Sept 2010 – Continuous Descent Arrivals (CDAs) at the UK’s Birmingham International Airport (BIA) have resulted in the saving of over 13,000 tonnes of CO2 over the past 12 months, claims the airport. Rather than using the traditional stepped approach, a CDA allows an aircraft to descend on minimum power, making a smooth approach without levelling off. This saves both fuel, and therefore emissions, and also reduces aircraft noise. After one year of launching the CDA programme, 95% of aircraft arriving at the airport now use the procedure, making a saving per flight of around 315kg of CO2 and reducing the noise around the airport by between one and five decibels per arrival. The programme is a partnership between the airport company, NATS (the airport’s air traffic control partner) and airlines operating at the airport.
“We are always seeking new opportunities to improve the noise climate for local residents and in 2006 we introduced the Operation Pathfinder scheme to create better communication channels and joined up thinking with our airlines and NATS,” said Ben Hanley, the airport’s Environment Manager.
“This partnership approach resulted in the launch of the CDA programme, and has led to improvements to our ‘on-track’ performance, which saw 99% of all our departures in 2009 keeping within the designated flight paths. We’re really seeing the results of collaborative working and we thank our partners for their commitment to improve the local climate.”
Paul Waite, Operations and Training Manager for NATS, commented: “Although CDAs are being used at a number of other UK airports, Birmingham is one of the most successful using the scheme, and I am proud that our team of controllers are exceeding targets every month.”
The CDA work at BIA forms part of the UK aviation industry’s Sustainable Aviation initiative, which is aimed at improving environmental performance based on long-term targets on emissions and noise reductions. Also through the initiative, the airport is implementing measures to reduce ground-based carbon emissions whilst aircraft are taxiing and operating on stand.
BIA recently launched a Google Earth tool on its website to allow people looking to relocate near to the airport to find out about its flight paths, noise insulation scheme, air quality monitoring and other environmental programmes.