Airservices Australia has introduced a new aircraft sequencing programme into Sydney airport as one of a number of measures designed to cut aircraft emissions.

The Aloft programme was launched as a trial at the airport earlier this year and became operational in late March. The programme uses the Maestro scheduling tool to provide a greater certainty of arrival time, minimising the need for holding.

Instead of looking at aircraft approaching the airport 100nm (185km) out, Airservices has adapted the software to look at aircraft 1,000nm from the airport. The ultimate aim is to provide aircraft hours away from the airport with an exact arrival time and allow them to perform a continuous descent without any holding, says Airservices.

The programme is already proving its worth, saving in excess of 9t of carbon dioxide a day at Sydney alone, according to Australian transport minister Mark Vaile.

The service provider is looking at implementing the programme at other airports in conjunction with airport authorities and airlines. The initiative is one of many that Airservices Australia is working on with a view to reduce emissions, including more flexible flight tracks, more efficient runway use and continuous descent approaches which minimise speed changes. The initiatives are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year.

Australia is supporting a global approach to aviation emissions reduction through the International Civil Aviation Organisation and is expressing concern that Europe is moving to implement unilaterally its own measures, which would impose an emissions cap and trading scheme on all aircraft flying into and out of Europe.

"This means that aircraft flying, for example, from Sydney to London, would be taxed under the European scheme, which places an unfair burden on long-haul carriers, given that most flights in Europe are much shorter distances," says Vaile.

The 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries met in Adelaide in late March and agreed to work together to reduce aviation greenhouse emissions.

Source: Flight International