NAV CANADA, NATS and Air France to collaborate on new North Atlantic fuel and emissions savings project
Hudson Bay ADS-B Tower at Puvirnituq, Quebec (photo: NAV CANADA)
Wed 12 Jan 2011 – Canada’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) NAV CANADA is to lead a new international fuel and greenhouse gas savings initiative in partnership with its UK counterpart NATS and Air France. The ENGAGE Corridor Project is aimed at improving flight efficiency in the busy North Atlantic Oceanic airspace. Trial flights will test the viability of two concepts: progressive or continuous altitude change and corresponding change in aircraft speed. As a flight transits the ocean, fuel is consumed and the weight of the aircraft decreases, resulting in the most efficient flight level becoming higher, assuming zero wind. Assessments show that oceanic flights can save around 250 litres of fuel and 650kg of carbon emissions by varying speed and altitude. Meanwhile, NAV CANADA reports that it gained savings of 700,000 tonnes of GHG emissions over the past year.
The ENGAGE Corridor Project flight trials will begin in February and continue through the spring. Based on actual airline flight data, the trial results will be compared to ‘normal’ operations on similar transatlantic routes.
NAV CANADA President and CEO John Crichton said the initiative would build on the improvements the ANSP had already implemented concerning oceanic air traffic management, including Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology to reduce aircraft separation. This had increased airspace capacity that will create opportunities for some North Atlantic flights to vary speed (Mach) and altitude and potentially realise fuel savings and reductions in GHG emissions, he said.
“More than 350,000 flights per year transit the North Atlantic airspace,” said Rudy Kellar, NAV CANADA Vice President, Operations. “If only three per cent are able to vary Mach and altitude in a way that improves flight efficiency, that would result in an annual reduction of approximately 7,200 metric tons of GHG emissions and savings of 2.7 million litres of fuel.”
The project is being undertaken as part of the European SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) programme. Managed by SESAR in cooperation with the US FAA, AIRE aims to accelerate the implementation of environmentally-friendly procedures for all phases of flight, and to validate the benefits of these improvements.
Meanwhile, NAV CANADA has recently published its Collaborative Initiatives for Emissions Reductions (CIFER) Status Update 2011 – a follow-up to last year’s CIFER Progress Report. The document highlights increased projected fuel and GHG emissions savings of $300 million and 700,000 tonnes compared to projections made a year ago.
“Overall, we are on track for even greater savings of GHG emissions and fuel costs than initially foreseen in 2009,” said Crichton. “Estimated fuel costs savings and emissions reductions from 1996 to 2016 are projected to be $4.3 billion and 13.4 million metric tons of GHG emissions.”
Following its deployment of ADS-B technology over Hudson Bay, NAV CANADA was named as the winner of the Environment Award at the 2010 ATC Global Exhibition and Conference. Then in June 2010, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented the ANSP with the Eagle Award for the second time in a decade.