In partnership with NATS of the UK and Air France, NAV CANADA have begun flight trials designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of international flights using North Atlantic airspace.
The North Atlantic Tracks (NAT), are agreed upon flight paths that allow airlines to maximize capacity, while safely crossing the North Atlantic, where radar is sparse. The problem is that with over 350,000 flights crossing the North Atlantic each year, significant fuel and profit can be burned up by an inefficient system.
The trans-atlantic flight trials are using progressive or continuous altitude change, as well as a subsequent change to the speed of the aircraft in order to reduce greenhouse emissions and save fuel. Using these methods, the separation between airplanes can be reduced, allowing for greater capacity of airlines on the NATs.
The results after the first flight have been promising. Rudy Kellar, Vice President of Operations had this to say;
“The results of the first trial are very encouraging and have exceeded our inital estimates. Analysis of the Air Canada flight shows a savings of over 800 litres of fuel and a reduction in greenhouse gas emmisions by more than 2,100 kilograms. At today’s fuel prices, this translates to a cost savings of nearly $700 for this one flight.”
Participating airlines in these trials include Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. The results of these trials will be made available at an international meeting scheduled for this October in Montreal.