United Airlines, a participant in the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions, says it has reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 33,000 pounds and saved about 1,600 gallons of fuel on United flight 870 from Sydney, Australia, to San Francisco International Airport.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met the flight in San Francisco, saying, “This amazing coordination on the international level shows the world that working together we can fly smart and move aviation into the future while curbing our greenhouse gas emissions.”
The flight used 11 fuel saving initiatives from gate-to-gate, including tailored arrivals. According to the company, the special arrival procedure generates around 60 gallons of fuel savings with a smooth continuous descent rather than the traditional step-down approach.
In addition, the flight reduced fuel burn and emissions by using up-to-the minute fuel data, priority takeoff clearance, and normally restricted airspace around Sydney’s airport.
The flight, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, helps make a case for Congress to appropriate billions of dollars to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system. Something the The European Union and the U.S. have been pushing for.
Southwest Airlines has been extending each flight by one to three minutes and is expected to save $42 million in fuel this year.
According to the Air Transport Association’s 2008 Economic Report, U.S. airlines reduced 2.5 billion metric tons of CO2 from 1978 to 2007.
As airlines have been working to reduce their impact on the environment, airports have also been busy with sustainability initiatives.