Aviation groups have ambitious plans to introduce continuous descent approaches (CDA) across Europe. The plans are part of an effort to reduce commercial air travel's global warming emissions.

ACI Europe, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, Eurocontrol and the International Air Transport Association together have launched the joint action plan to reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft in Europe by over 500,00t a year.

The plan, launched at the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, will develop and implement continuous descent approaches at up to 100 airports across Europe by the end of 2013, the broadest introduction of the operational procedure undertaken so far.

CDA, where aircraft fly a smooth approach into an airport rather than the classic stepped approach, reduces fuel burn by 50-150kg (110-330lb) for a short- to medium-haul aircraft, and therefore reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 160-470kg per flight. CDA also reduces noise around the airport by between 1 and 5 decibels.

With CDA in place at 100 airports in Europe, the initiative is aimed at helping airlines save 150,000t of fuel and €100 million ($132 million) a year while reducing emissions by 500,000t.

The action plan was developed by 19 organisations and companies across Europe, including air navigation service providers, manufacturers, airports, and airlines.

CANSO would need to work closely with its partners to introduce the operational technique, says secretary general Alexander ter Kuile. Olivier Jankovec, director general at ACI Europe, says co-operation will address crucial short-term and long-term challenges for European aviation.

Source: Flight International