SESAR is playing an important role, alongside other stakeholders in the ATM value chain, by addressing inefficiencies in air traffic management. Through our research and innovation programme we are seeking to bring about a digital transformation in ATM, developing technological solutions that can deliver a “perfect flight” in terms of carbon emissions reduction and that can create a fully connected airspace.
This requires looking at every phase of the flight and use of the airspace, and seeing what technologies can be used to eliminate fuel inefficiencies. It also requires synchronised data exchange and operations on the ground and in the air to ensure maximum impact.
Much of the focus of the work has been on making taxi-out operations more predictable and efficient, reducing holding patterns and vectoring in terminal airspace upon arrival; and optimising trajectories through the use of i4D, among other technologies. All of which bring fuel savings.
A perfect flight is composed of several innovative procedures, including:
- Optimised climb and descent operations, which are already implemented at several European airports
- Free routing in the cruise phase of flight, to be operational Europe-wide by 2025
- Optimised extended arrival management, eliminating unnecessary holding, fuel burn and emissions with planned implementation across Europe by 2025
- Steeper approaches for landing, helping to reduce noise levels around airports between now and 2030
Get more details for each phase of flight
Extended arrival management
"Through our research and innovation programme we are seeking to bring about a digital transformation in ATM, developing technological solutions that can deliver a “perfect flight” in terms of carbon emissions reduction and that can create a fully connected airspace."
Florian Guillermet, Executive Director, SESAR Joint Undertaking
Delivered sustainable solutions
More solutions in the pipeline
The European Green Deal launched by the European Commission in December 2019 aims to create the world’s first climate-neutral bloc by 2050. This ambitious target calls for deep-rooted change across the aviation sector and places significantly stronger focus on the environmental impact of flying.
In SESAR, we want to build further on the progress we have made so far on the environment so that we can contribute to making the European airspace the most efficient and environmentally friendly sky to fly in the world.
Considering the urgency of the situation, we need to look at how we can accelerate the digital transformation in order to support a swift transition to greener aviation. Large-scale demonstrators will be key to bridging the industrialisation gap, bringing these innovations to scale and encouraging rapid implementation by industry.
These will focus on solutions enabling “perfect flights” from an emissions perspective, eliminating unnecessary ATC interventions that would result in a degradation of the optimum trajectory and generate extra emissions. The demonstrators would also facilitate the integration of the next generation of aircraft that will be cleaner and quieter.
It is estimated that a digital European sky could save 28 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which is roughly equivalent to the CO2 produced by 3.2 million people or the population in the metropolitan area of a city like Madrid.