Pan-Pacific Partnership Looks To Save Fuel, Reduce Emissions
The Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE), a partnership with the FAA’s counterparts and airlines in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment, is moving beyond the demonstration stage with the launch of ASPIRE-Daily service in selected Pacific markets.
Air New Zealand will begin ASPIRE-Daily service from Auckland to San Francisco on Feb. 21 using some of the flight procedures identified by the ASPIRE partners to help reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions. “This is another significant step in our rollout of the Next Generation Air Transportation System,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We’re beginning to bring the green benefits of NextGen to the airlines and passengers in the Pacific on a daily basis.”
Over the next four months, other carriers are expected to join Air New Zealand in flying ASPIRE-Daily routes between additional city pairs.
Airlines flying ASPIRE-Daily routes must be equipped with advanced avionics that allow them to use at least four of the environmentally friendly procedures per flight outlined in the ASPIRE program. These include the satellite-based Required Navigation Performance avionics, which automatically update an aircraft’s precise position to air traffic controllers and provide an on-board system to monitor navigation performance. Another satellite-based system in use is the Future Air Navigation System, which transmits communications data directly from pilots to controllers.
Five ASPIRE demonstration flights have taken place since the agreement was signed on Feb. 12, 2008. Air New Zealand flew the first demonstration flight from Auckland to San Francisco in September 2008. Qantas flew from Los Angeles to Melbourne in October 2008. United flew from Sydney to San Francisco on November 2008. Japan Airlines flew from Honolulu to Kansai in October 2009, and Singapore Airlines flew from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo in January 2010.
Aspire-Daily Program Procedures:
- User-Preferred Routes allow an airline to request a specific routing, regardless of projected winds, instead of flying along a fixed route. This procedure, made possible by advanced technologies used by air traffic controllers monitoring aircraft over oceanic airspace, results in a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures are the airborne equivalent of User-Preferred Routes. While User-Preferred Routes are approved prior to takeoff, Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures allow an aircraft to deviate from its flight path to take updated wind projections into account. This procedure also results in reduced fuel burn.
- 30/30 Reduced Oceanic Separation is the safe reduction in the required separation between aircraft from 100 nautical miles to 30. This procedure improves capacity and efficiency over oceanic routes.
- Time-based Arrivals Management allows controllers to sequence aircraft more efficiently as they get closer to their arrival airports. This reduces low altitude vectoring and holding patterns, which burn fuel, while improving the merging and spacing of arriving aircraft to maximize efficiency.
- Arrival Optimization is the use of any one of several satellite-based procedures that allow aircraft to descend smoothly from cruising altitude to the arrival airport. These procedures – Continuous Descent Approaches, Optimized Profile Descents and Tailored Arrivals – allow aircraft to descend at idle thrust, rather than doing step-down descents that burn more fuel.
- Departure Optimization is the climb-out version of Arrival Optimization. This minimizes low altitude vectoring and the need to level off at interim altitudes.
- Surface Movement Optimization allows aircraft to move between gates and runways as efficiently as possible to save time and reduce fuel burn.