Air New Zealand's ASPIRE 1 takes off in pursuit of fuel and emissions savings across the Pacific
Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER (photo: Boeing)
Fri 12 Sept 2008 – Air New Zealand flight NZ8, renamed ASPIRE 1, took off from Auckland today for San Francisco on a first test flight operating under optimum flight planning conditions. The journey is expected to result in fuel savings of 4,400 litres and 11 fewer tonnes of CO2 being emitted. The route efficiency gains are the result of the ASPIRE (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions) programme in which the airline is partnering with Airways New Zealand, Airservices Australia and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
ASPIRE 1 is flying under a fully optimized flight planning and operating regime free of normal constraints from pushback to the arrival of the Boeing 777 at the destination gate in San Francisco.
“By operating under these optimum planning conditions we will be able to demonstrate how many millions of tonnes of fuel and carbon emissions can be saved by airlines globally if they are permitted to utilize concepts and technologies in flight efficiency in all phases of commercial flight,” commented Air New Zealand’s General Manager Airline Operations, Captain David Morgan, prior to the flight.
On arrival in San Francisco, the flight was to be met by the Mayor of San Francisco and senior FAA representatives.
Air navigation services provider Airways New Zealand says the test flight will be a demonstration of the capabilities of the most advanced Air Navigation Services and airline fuel optimisation initiatives in current operation. This means the flight will have all practical operational restraints, including air traffic congestion control vectoring, air traffic fixed route structure, procedures, flow restrictions and airline restraints removed. It will result, says Airways NZ, in a clear and measured understanding of the potential savings achievable based on current technology.
“We’ve been working closely with Air New Zealand and our international allies to enable the flight to operate under optimum air traffic management flight planning conditions, which means using concepts and technologies to maximize efficiency throughout all phases of the flight,” said Mark Goodall, Manager of Oceanic Services for Airways NZ.
“ASPIRE 1 is a tangible example of the willingness of airlines, industry and governments to work together to reduce aviation emissions on a global scale.”
ASPIRE 1 is the first of several demonstration flights scheduled to be undertaken within the next six months between the United States and Australia. The other flights are a United Airlines Boeing 747 and Qantas’s new A380 superjumbo (due to enter service late October).