Two transatlantic trials set to slash emissions

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US and European aviation authorities and operators are planning at least two collaborative environmental tests next year to gather operational data on emissions- and fuel-reducing procedures and technologies.

A surface operations trial at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in the second or third quarter of 2008 will be the first event.

The trial is held under the auspices of the Atlantic Interoperability initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE), a European and US partnership to implement near-term gate-to-gate reductions in emissions and fuel burn.

Joined with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Commission’s Single European Sky ATM [air traffic management] Research (SESAR) program in the effort are a variety of airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Air France, FedEx, KLM and Virgin Atlantic.

At JFK, the test will centre on the airport’s new Airport Surface Detection Radar, Model X (ASDE-X) surveillance system, slated to be operational by June, as a tool to optimize ground movements and departures to reduce fuel burned and emissions produced in the airport vicinity.

A “flexible track” test scheduled to start mid-third quarter, also under the AIRE program, will give participating airlines on flights between Europe and Miami more freedom to modify routes and altitudes to minimize both travel time and fuel burn.

ICAO reports that fuel burn on average can increase as much as 110kg per 100nm if altitudes are as little as 1,815m (6,000ft) below the optimum cruise level. US airlines in the flexible track test include American Airlines and UPS.