Airways New Zealand signs with US and Australia to reduce aircraft emissions

Friday 22 February 2008, 12:37PM
By Airways New Zealand

Airways New Zealand, New Zealand’s air navigation services provider, has this week signed an historic trilateral agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration and Airservices Australia to accelerate the development of air traffic control procedures which will reduce aviation’s environmental footprint worldwide.

Signed this week at the Singapore Aviation Summit, the agreement is titled ‘ASPIRE’ – the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions, and aims to provide a regional platform to showcase the region’s leadership in global aviation emissions reductions to ensure that, as aviation grows, its environmental impacts are reduced over time.

Representing New Zealand, Airways New Zealand CEO Mr Ashley Smout said the ASPIRE partnership was a significant step towards closer regional collaboration to continue leading the world in global aviation emissions reduction.

“The Federal Aviation Administration, Airservices Australia, and Airways New Zealand have been at the forefront of technology and procedure development for numerous advanced air navigation service enhancements in the oceanic environment that are already reducing fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions on individual flights, “ said Mr Smout.

Airways New Zealand is internationally recognised as providing a range of service efficiencies, improved procedures, and world-leading initiatives to assist airlines in their quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they fly into and over New Zealand’s 37 million square kilometres of airspace.

Airways’ estimates of the annual value of the company’s existing fuel saving efforts through efficient vectoring and flow control are in the vicinity of NZ$20 million per year to the New Zealand airline industry.

“The maturity of the region’s airline fleets and route structure, and the demonstrated willingness of our airlines, industry and governments to work together present a valuable opportunity to showcase the region’s leadership in aviation emissions reductions on a global stage.”

“Through ASPIRE, Airways and our air navigation partners in the US and Australia are committing to work closely with our airline customers and other stakeholders to accelerate the development of operational procedures which will further reduce the environmental footprint of aircraft in our combined airspace for all phases of flight, from gate to gate.”

“We also have a significant opportunity to positively influence the global air navigation industry through facilitating world-wide interoperability of environmentally friendly procedures and standards, and developing shared performance metrics to measure improvements in the environmental performance of the global air transport system.”

“The aviation sector currently represents 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Technological advancement has significantly reduced aircraft fuel consumption and emissions on a per passenger basis over the last 30 years, and the industry is committed to improving on this record. But we face a real challenge in the Asia Pacific region as air transport activity is expected to continue to grow steadily throughout the region.”

In 2007, nearly 2.2 billion people flew on the world’s scheduled air carriers, with predictions of 9 billion passengers by 2025. In the Asia Pacific region, the rapid movement of people and materials provided by aviation will be crucial to continued economic growth and development over the next couple of decades.

“With ASPIRE, we have committed to move forward to foster implementation of this programme along key Asian and South Pacific routes and will welcome the participation of other key stakeholders as we proceed. We believe aggressive action to make new concepts of operation a reality and take advantage of innovations in aircraft and air traffic management technology are crucial if aviation is to exercise its proper stewardship of the environment,” said Mr Smout. 


Background: Airways New Zealand and the Environment

Airways New Zealand is providing a of range service efficiencies, improved procedures, and world-leading initiatives to assist airlines in their quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they fly into and over New Zealand’s 37 million square kilometres of airspace.

Airways New Zealand’s estimates of the annual value of the our existing fuel saving efforts through efficient vectoring and flow control are in the vicinity of NZ$20 million per year to the New Zealand airline industry. These existing fuel savings are being realised every day, right now in the skies over New Zealand's airspace through the professionalism and expertise of New Zealand’s air traffic controllers and their commitment to finding flight efficiencies for every aircraft they control.

But a number of new initiatives are starting to play an increasingly important role in airline fuel economies, by focussing on flexible and efficient routing, and further promoting collaborative working practices between airline operators, airport companies and Airways New Zealand.

Among the new initiatives is the development of an online Collaborative Arrivals Manager involving the sharing of real-time information between airlines, airport companies and Airways New Zealand, to ensure agreed scheduling during disruptive weather conditions.

The new Collaborative Arrivals Manager system is enabling New Zealand’s airlines to actively co-operate to get priority flights moving. The result is fuel economies driven by more effective scheduling, with a subsequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as holding patterns in the air and engine idling on the ground are significantly reduced.

Over our vast Oceanic airspace of the South Pacific Ocean, User Preferred Routing, which has been operational over New Zealand’s oceanic airspace for a number of years, means pilots are electing to alter their routes while they are airborne to achieve better flight efficiency through the benefit of prevailing wind patterns. The use of Dynamic Airborne Rerouting enhances this facility by allowing pilots to alter their routes based on the latest weather information in real time, as they fly.

The recent introduction of a reduced 30/30 nautical mile horizontal separation standard within our Oceanic sector – a world first for such a reduced separation standard - provides for further efficiency and emission reductions for international flights through improved access to their preferred routes and flight levels, with no reduction in safety.

Airways New Zealand has also been working with Air New Zealand and Qantas to conduct an Optimised Arrival Trial which allows landing aircraft to follow continuous descent approach procedures into Auckland airport.

The ‘fuel-optimised descents’ have been flown with aircraft engines set at idle, thereby significantly reducing fuel burn and greenhouse gas emissions. The trial established that the potential fuel savings and associated emission reductions of using these types of optimised descent approaches are real and significant. Airways is now working with its airline customers to explore ways to include these types of descent profiles into regular operation.

Airways’ ‘Strategic Vision of Air Traffic Management in New Zealand in 2015 and Beyond’ sets out our expectations of New Zealand’s future air traffic management system which will feature improved safety, greater capacity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Known as ‘Required Navigation Performance’ (RNP), this project sets out a blueprint for the future of New Zealand’s air traffic management environment, by reducing the track miles and designing routes which optimise unrestricted climb and descent, further minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

Airways’ vision of the future and its embraced philosophy of partnership with its customers combine to lead the industry in its approach to future Air Traffic Management development. Airways recognises that aviation does have an environmental impact and is committed to doing everything it can to limit the industry’s impact on the environment.