Fuel prices have risen considerable the last two years, but airlines can't pass all of it to the passengers without losing market share.
Chuck Thomas - CleanMPG
- June 4, 2010
Just as hypermilers let their cruising speed vary to meet the terrain, pilots can save fuel by allowing their altitude to vary (up to 3000 ft) when traffic conditions allow and chose the best wind conditions. This adds up on 8-10hr flights. Maybe flights will be less boring for pilots too
The company stated that these new fuel-saving techniques expect to save about 940 gallons of fuel, i.e. 3.0% of the fuel usually burnt by the airline from Chicago to Frankfurt. The flight has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as air traffic authorities in Canada and Europe. However, the airlines cannot use these techniques in every flight as it may hamper the track of maintaining the required minimum distances between planes.
United Airlines will become the first airline to conduct two trans-Atlantic flights using state-of-the-art flight planning to reduce environmental impact and save fuel. The flights, which will be flown today - World Environment Day, as designated by the United Nations - will save nearly 6,400 pounds of fuel and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 20,000 pounds.
United will use a flight planning system to compute optimum routing, altitudes and speeds based on winds and aircraft performance capabilities and is partnering with NAV Canada, Canada's civil air navigation service, and NATS, the UK's leading provider of air traffic control services. United is conducting the flights as part of several efforts aimed at advancing technological and process improvements that will contribute to environmental sustainability and increased fuel savings.
"We are focused on effecting a permanent change in flight planning and routing over the North Atlantic to achieve significant environmental impact improvements," said Joseph Kolshak, United Airlines senior vice president of operations. "We expect this effort will serve as a model for how cooperation and coordination can generate meaningful progress in our drive to protect the environment and improve our operational efficiency."
United will also use external power and air conditioning at the gates to limit the use of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit (AAPU) and will coordinate with O'Hare ground control to minimize taxi time to the runway thereby reducing taxi fuel burn.
United will utilize Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) technology and new procedures based on the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) and a variable Mach cruise approach will be the largest component of the test. Overall, the effort will study the environmental benefits, the costs of leveraging planned technological enhancements, applying aircraft separation procedures and surveillance standards in the busiest corridor of airspace across the North Atlantic. This airspace combines a flexible transition corridor from continental Europe aligned with the oceanic airspace over southern Greenland and the East coast of Canada.