How can we ensure global air mobility while minimising energy use and climate effects? FlyATM4E, a SESAR exploratory project has sought to address that very challenge, as Sigrun Matthes, a researcher at DLR and project coordinator explains in this video interview. 

The project has modelled a set of climate impact metrics in multiple environments including trans-Atlantic routes, and explored the feasibility of a concept for aircraft avoiding the more sensitive areas, otherwise known as “big hits”. Their modelling found that in most cases it should be possible to apply effective re-routing strategies in support of more eco-efficient routes and climate-optimised aircraft trajectories.

The FlyATM4E solution relies on prototypic algorithmic climate change functions (aCCFs) to derive such climate impact information for flight planning directly from operational meteorological weather forecast data. By combining the individual aCCFs of water vapour, NOx, contrail-cirrus, i.e. merged non-CO2, it becomes possible to generate aCCFs that describe the overall climate impact of non-CO2 aviation emissions and identify weather situations with high mitigation potential, including an uncertainty assessment. The analysis of sample flights showed different changes in average temperature response with respect to cost or climate optimum and trade-off trajectories within the set of pareto-optimal solutions.

These results suggest that applying these enabling solutions have the potential to reduce the aviation climate footprint by low or no additional costs. 


This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 891317