Airservices and Emirates Airline reduce aviation impact on the environment

30 Aug 2013

Airservices will play an integral role to demonstrate air traffic management by assisting Emirates to conduct a flight through Australian airspace as part of a demonstration on how improved air traffic management can reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Emirates flight EK434 from Dubai to Brisbane on 1 September will be part of the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) program. The program aims to yield substantial savings in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Results based on 100 similar flights conducted under the INSPIRE program, indicate a fuel saving of 740kg and 2.3 tonnes of CO2 per flight.

Airservices Acting Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood, said “Airservices will, in cooperation with other air navigation service providers and airports in the region, demonstrate efficiencies that can be achieved by initiating less air traffic navigation constraints, as far as is practicable.

“The Emirates flight will use a company preferred route across the Indian Ocean and through Australian domestic airspace. On arrival the flight will conduct a Continuous Descent Approach via a Smart Tracking to the runway at Brisbane Airport. This arrival will be an example of Airservices recently introduced Smart Tracking technology,” Mr Hood said.

Smart Tracking enables suitably equipped aircraft to glide to the runway under minimal power avoiding long, straight-in approaches. This offers significant environmental benefits, including the reduction of carbon emissions by reducing the amount of fuel used by aircraft.

Captain Alan Stealey, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Flight Operations, commented that the way aircraft are operated in the air makes a big difference to their environmental impact.

“We’ve invested in one of the best flight planning systems available. Working together with Airservices, we use flexible air traffic routes optimised for weather, saving time, fuel and emissions,” said Captain Stealey.

The Emirates flight will then return to the skies heading to Auckland to highlight the benefits of the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE). Emirates Airline is the most recent member of ASPIRE.

“ASPIRE demonstrates that when several efficient air traffic procedures are integrated and applied to a single flight, we see the potential for reductions in delays, fuel usage and emissions. These procedures will become a new standard for air traffic services,” Mr Hood said.

Captain Stealey added that this operational flying technique was just one of many innovations that Emirates is currently exploring in the quest to reduce carbon emissions.

“Our fleet is one of the youngest in the skies, and modern aircraft are 30 to 40 per cent more efficient than those of 15 years ago. And of course our flagship aircraft, the A380, burns up to 20 per cent less fuel per seat than its nearest competitor.

“Other measures we’ve taken on as standard include using a single engine to taxi where possible, potentially saving 430,000 litres of fuel annually for every one minute of single engine taxing per aircraft movement, as well as saving fuel while parked at the gate by using fixed power supplies where possible. Studies have shown that fixed electrical power units can reduce the amount of fuel burn used on ground power by up to 85 per cent,” he concluded.