AIRE 2010/11: Successful start of new green aviation trials

Sep. 16, 2010

Following encouraging results in 2009, the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) selected 18 projects involving 40 airline, airport, ANSP and industry partners to support the continued expansion of the AIRE ( Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions) programme geared at reducing CO2 emissions in air transport in the short term. A first wave of trials has already been conducted.

The AIRE programme was launched in 2007 by the European Commission and the US Federal Aviation Administration, designed to improve energy efficiency and aircraft noise. SESAR is responsible for its management from a European perspective. In 2009, the SJU supported 1,152 green flight trials under the AIRE umbrella. 18 partners in five locations participated in the trials.
The 2010/11 AIRE projects focus on validating solutions that can be implemented permanently in their respective operational context and that capitalise on present aircraft capabilities. Among the first projects that have started are green transatlantic revenue flights with the A380 carried out by an Airbus-led consortium in partnership with Air France and the air navigation service providers from UK, Canada and the USA (NATS, Nav Canada and the FAA). Another key project is conducted by Lufthansa in cooperation with DFS and Germanwings where the partners will validate a new procedure that will optimise the arrival flows of Dusseldorf and Cologne. This area has a high traffic density and therefore presents the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
As a result of a complementary call for tender, more partners will be involved in AIRE in additional pioneer locations such as Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Canada, Morocco, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. “AIRE 2010/11 means more partners in more locations with more trials for more results. We will demonstrate that green flight operations can be applied everywhere immediately, when partners agree to work together with a common goal. This is not the future, this is SESAR’s reality”, says Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the SJU.
Other new features of the programme are for example gate-to-gate flight trials performed between European city pairs as an addition to complete green transatlantic flights. Some of the validation projects will be conducted in the most congested European airspaces and on the busiest European airports (e.g Schiphol). Some projects will focus on vertical and speed optimisation, while partners who have already participated in 2009, will expand on the results achieved so far with a strong link to routine use of green procedures. AIRE is building the first blocks of the SESAR Concept of Operations by testing SESAR 4D trajectory-based operations and SESAR’s concept of performance-based navigation.

Key green projects
The second AIRE call for tender sought for commercial flight trial projects for energy-efficient air traffic management (ATM) operations enabling lower engine emissions and aircraft noise: two will tackle surface, five terminal, four oceanic and seven green gate-to-gate operations. Projects include:
Two proposals were selected for green surface trials. The project “Greener airports operations under adverse conditions” executed by DSNA in partnership with Aéroports de Paris and Air France will for example study operational situations in adverse conditions, caused by bad weather or other factors that constrain runway use.
Out of the five projects selected for terminal operations, one is conducted in Madrid by INECO, Aena, Iberia, Air Europa and Crida. The partners will perform Continuous Descent Approaches (CDA) capitalising on the results of previous AIRE trials with the scope to repeatability and predictability of the CDA flights with the introduction of SESAR 4D Trajectory Based Operations. This project has already been kicked-off.
For en-route/oceanic, four projects are selected covering five new locations (Portugal, Canada, Morocco, the United Kingdom and the United States). NAV Portugal will for example with TAP Portugal and the Moroccan ONDA (Office National des Aéroports) aim to offer shortest flight paths across the flight information regions of Lisbon and Casablanca to heavy long-range aircraft that operate those routes. The miles and minutes saved using this procedure entail significant fuel savings and CO2 reduction.
In total, seven gate-to-gate projects will be conducted through the programme. Amongst others, the already initiated VINGA (Validation and Improvement of Next Generation Airspace) is a project coordinated by LFV with Goteborg Landvetter, Novair, and Quovadis to conduct at least 100 validation trials demonstrating the overall benefits of applying procedures for different flight phases like for example aircraft required time of arrival performance near to TMA entry, and single taxi-out Continuous Climb Departures (CCD). This project is aligned with SESAR’s concept of performance-based navigation. Another project one is looking at green shuttle flights between Paris and Toulouse.

Partners involved
In total, some 40 partners involving airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, and aircraft manufacturers will demonstrate that significant efficiency gains can be achieved through new procedures using existing technology. The 2010/11 AIRE partners will 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,Swedavia) and industry partners (Adacel, Airbus, CRIDA A.I.E, GE aviation, INECO, National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), Pildo labs, Quovadis, Rockwell Collins, SENASA). The FAA and NAV Canada will also directly support some of the gate-to-gate projects.