Sustainable Aviation members Airbus, Thomas Cook and NATS worked together optimising regular flights to and from Lanzarote. The largest efficiencies achieved in the Optimum Flight project were with cooperation from air traffic routings and flight management. The air navigation service providers were able to coordinate an efficient climb, cruise and constant descent along the most efficient flight routing, often against regular traffic flows. As a result there was an average of 2% reduction in block fuel burn per flight hour for the Optimum Flights and an average of a 16% decrease in track miles compared to that planned. This significant reduction was achieved by flying against the usual flow of traffic and short cutting regular air navigation routes. Optimum flights that achieved constant descent operations resulted in an average 18% reduction in fuel used over a typical descent into the same destination. Sharing data with industry partner, Airbus Pro Sky (Canarias Project) also helped achieve a redesign of an approach to the southerly runway at Lanzarote Airport that was previously over high terrain posing a flight risk. This redesigned approach has been successfully trialled and is anticipated to be available to all airlines for use shortly.
Airbus Group Innovations and Rolls-Royce,with Cranfield University as a partner, are jointly engaged in the Distributed Electrical Aerospace Propulsion (DEAP) project, which is co-funded by InnovateUK in the UK. The DEAP project researches key innovative technologies that will enable improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust gas and noise emissions for future aircraft designs by incorporating a Distributed Propulsion system architecture. Compared to engines on existing commercial airliners, such a system will require a much higher level of integration with the airframe design than that of today’s aircraft.
UK Government, the industry regulator (CAA) and local community groups have called for the aviation industry to do more in the short term to demonstrate action to reduce noise impacts.