Airlines currently use air traffic networks dating back to World War II, which forces planes to take longer flights, but now there’s a plan for a satellite-driven network, dubbed NextGen, which would help airlines save fuel by enabling GPS-equipped planes to fly in a straight line, AP reports (via the Baltimore Sun).
According to the FAA, the $35 billion NextGen plan could save airlines a minimum of 3.3 billion gallons of fuel a year, or more than $10 billion annually by 2025, based on current fuel prices. That’s 10 percent savings in fuel costs per year, which would pay for itself in seven years. The government doesn’t expect the system to be operational until the early 2020s.
Southwest Airlines told AP that it’s investing $175 million to equip 500 planes with GPS within a few years. The company says getting each of its planes on the ground just one minute faster, would equate to $25 million in fuel-savings annually.
Southwest is also one of a number of airlines that have slowed flight speeds to save fuel.
Air New Zealand recently announced that it will retrofit its jet fleets with zonal dryers, which is expected to save 500,000 gallons of fuel a year across 42 aircraft, reducing CO2 emissions by 4,700 tons a year.
As airlines have been working to reduce its impact on the environment, airports have also been busy with sustainability initiatives.