Green air traffic management (ATM) programme Aspire will next week launch flights on the first daily transpacific city-pair to implement the fuel-saving techniques developed during earlier test flights.

The Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (Aspire) was formed in February 2008 by AirServices Australia, Airways New Zealand and the US FAA. Membership has since been expanded to include the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau.

Its aim is to develop gate-to-gate operational procedures which reduce fuel burn and emissions for all phases of flight on key Asian and Pacific routes.

Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and United Airlines have all participated in demonstration flights to test the procedures, which include using optimised routings and other existing ATM technologies.

On 21 February, the first scheduled daily city pair flight to use these techniques will take off from Auckland, bound for San Francisco. It will be operated by Air New Zealand.

Aspire has developed a star rating system to measure the results of the flights, with three stars indicating that the minimum number of best-practice procedures are available and five stars meaning that all procedures are available. Best practices include user preferred routings and arrival and departure optimisation.

"The success of the initial demonstration flights [along key Asia Pacific-North America routes in 2008-09] means we can now offer Aspire best practice on a daily basis on an expanding number of city pair routes," says Aspire chairman Doug Scott.

"Participating airlines will then track and report daily usage to help validate the programme's performance."

Data gathered from the test flights showed average fuel savings of 4% and up to a 15,000kg (33,069lb) reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, says Aspire.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news