GE Aviation will play a key role in the Atlantic-Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) Green Connections project to validate how existing technology can be better used, combined with improvements in ground-based operations, to reduce CO2 emissions from air travel.
The industry consortium, led by LFV Sweden, includes Swedavia, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Rockwell Collins.
GE Aviations says this project will be the first to evaluate gate-to-gate environmental performance including the departure phase and at the destination airport. Previous evaluations have focused on reducing an aircraft’s track miles once in flight and enabling fuel-efficient descents.
Under the project, GE Aviation will provide the flight management system (FMS) to predict the optimum flight path. The FMS is used for controlled time of arrivals (CTA), which enables aircraft to fly optimum required navigation performance (RNP) routes developed by GE’s Naverus business.
AIRE is an agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, aimed at developing more environmentally-friendly air transport operation on transatlantic routes.
The AIRE Green Connections project will start later this year and run for 10 months. The project is expected to evaluate hundreds of standard, passenger-carrying flights to Stockholm Arlanda Airport’s Runway 26.
Twenty-five of the flights will be full gate-to-gate evaluations from Gotenorg Landvetter Airport to Stockholm Arlanda Airport, and 75 of the flights will take place from cruise altitude to Runway 26 using short approaches to be developed within the project.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines will carry out the flight trials using its Boeing 737 NG aircraft. In the Stockholm terminal area, aircraft will fly using a newly designed RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance-Approval Required) procedure to Arlanda Airport’s Runway 26. It is estimated that the procedure will reduce flight distances by almost 20 NM, compared to today’s shortest approaches, save about 100 kg of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 300 kg.
GE Aviation, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, Boeing and Rolls Royce recently have been awarded $125 million in new FAA contracts to develop aircraft and engine technologies that reduce noise and emissions and improve fuel burn.
GE Aviation has participated in biofuel demonstration flights to help identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry.
The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), responsible for managing the European part of the program, recently selected 18 projects involving 40 airline, airport, ANSP and industry partners to expand AIRE. Under the initiative, the SJU supports integrated flight trials and demonstrations validating solutions for the reduction of C02 emissions for surface, terminal and oceanic flight operations.
Seven of the 18 proposals include green gate-to-gate projects, and a series of green transatlantic flights with the Airbus A380, the world’s largest airliner.
The 2010/11 AIRE partners include airlines (Air Europa, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, Germanwings, Iberia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, Novair, SAS, SWISS, TAP Portugal), air navigation service providers (Aena, Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Austro Control, Belgocontrol, DFS, DSNA, DGAC, NATS, NAV Portugal, ONDA, LFV, LVNL, Skyguide), airport operators (Aéroports de Paris, Brussels Airport, Flughafen Zürich AG, Goteborg Landvetter ) and industry partners (Adacel, Airbus, CRIDA A.I.E, GE Aviation, INECO, National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), Pildo labs, Quovadis, Rockwell Collins, SENASA, Swedavia).
In addition to the partners listed above, the FAA and NAV Canada will also directly support some of the gate-to-gate projects. Contracts are expected to be signed in September 2010 followed by an immediate start of projects.
In 2009, the SJU supported 1,152 green flight trials under the AIRE umbrella with18 partners in five locations participating in the trials.
American Airlines recently conducted a test of next-generation technology and procedures on a flight from Paris to Miami, in conjunction with AIRE, to determine their impact on reducing carbon emissions and saving fuel on trans-Atlantic routes.