A trial aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from long-haul flights by offering more flexibility in choosing routes has resulted in reductions in fuel burn.

The iFlex initiative - a project involving, among others, IATA, Delta Air Lines, Emirates and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation - has completed its first trial on flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg.

Data from Delta Air Lines revealed that its Atlanta-Johannesburg flights between 30 June and 25 August were on average 8min shorter under the iFlex programme.

This led to savings of 900kg of fuel and 2.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Spread out over the course of the year and based on two flights a day, this would equate to savings of 690 tonnes of fuel and 2,150 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The trial required no changes to existing air traffic management procedures or separation standards, said CANSO. However, new waypoints were added to facilitate more efficient routes.

The iFlex initiative focuses on long-haul routes through low-density airspace.

Following the conclusion of the trial, iFlex routing options have been made available to all operators.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news