Iberia Airlines, Spain’s airport and air traffic control authority Aena, and the Ineco transport engineering firm have carried out 620 test flights at the Madrid-Barajas airport involving continuous descent or “green approaches”.
The results of the tests, as announced by the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR SJU) *, show that the new landing approach technique yields an average 25% reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, as well as significant reduction of noise.
The success of the test has led Aena to analyse the results with a view to instituting these “green approaches” at night all Spanish airports before the end of this year. This was one of the measures included in Aena’s 2009 Environmental Action Plan, aimed at achieving a total fuel savings of 25,000 tonnes per year and a reduction of 75,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during airport approaches.
The test flights, staged by Iberia, Aena and Ineco, were carried out from June through September last year between midnight and 6 a.m. at Madrid-Barajas airport, and involved Iberia Airbus A-320s and A-340s which made the continuous descent manoeuvres under low power and without horizontal stages.
The tests were a part of the Atlantic Initiative for the Reduction of Emissions (AIRE), at the behest of the SJU and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They constitute one of more than 300 AIRE projects designed to improve energy efficiency and to reduce the CO2 emissions and noise produced by commercial aviation. In 2009 more than 1,000 tests were carried out by the 18 European partners of the AIRE project.
* SJU is the company set up by the European Commission, Eurocontrol and the aviation industry to modernise air traffic management in Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.
Further information about the SESAR programme and the AIRE Project is available on the SJU website www.sesarju.eu.