5 Dec 2013
Australia’s air traffic management provider Airservices Australia and Emirates Airline this week marked the 10-year anniversary of the Flex Tracks program for flights between Emirates’ Dubai hub and its Australian network.
The ground-breaking initiative highlights the practical benefits when airlines implement smart air traffic management and use powerful tailwinds to reduce fuel burn, CO2 emissions, and journey time.
Designed to make the best use of high altitude jet-stream winds, Flex Tracks help airlines dramatically increase an aircraft’s speed and reduce fuel consumption on long-distance flights by identifying tailwinds and avoiding strong headwinds.
Over the last 12 months Flex Tracks has saved over 3,800 tonnes of fuel on Emirates’ daily flights to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney and has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes. The fuel saved could fill the tank of a Holden Commodore 65,000 times and the CO2 saved would fill the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall 830 times.
For the smart traveller, Flex Tracks delivers shorter journeys. This year the system has reduced Emirates flying time to Australia by an equivalent of 16.5 days. The advantages include reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
Airservices Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood said, “Airservices publishes Flex Track information for airlines flying into and out of Australian airspace to enable them to make the most of prevailing weather patterns and winds. This allows aircraft to improve flight time and reduce fuel usage, delivering environmental benefits and reducing operating costs.”
Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said, “Airservices Australia’s Flex Tracks solution has been an important part of our flight planning activities for ten years and continues to provide noticeable results. Commercial aviation needs practical solutions to reduce fuel burn, flight time, and CO2 emissions—not only for environmental reasons, but to ensure each flight is as cost effective as possible. Emirates is focused on flying efficiently, investing in the youngest fleet in skies today, and using technology, like Flex Tracks, to achieve results. Air infrastructure and policy needs to keep up with developments and enable these types of initiatives. These figures demonstrate the potential benefits that can be achieved when air navigation service providers are forward thinking.”
Airservices currently produces 17 Flex Tracks daily between Australia and airports in Asia and the Middle East. Last month an average of 31 flights per day used the tracks, which supports the aviation industry and reduces green house gas emissions.
Emirates commenced using a Flex Track flying between Dubai and Sydney on 1 December 2003, the first airline to do so in Australian airspace at that time.
Since then, Airservices and Emirates Airline have worked collaboratively to improve Flex Tracks procedures which have now been adopted by other airlines and between increasing numbers of cities.