13 Jul 2010 05:07:01
Optimised flights 'could have lower CO2 emissions'
Main players in the UK aviation industry joined together last weekend to produce what they are terming a perfect flight.
Experts from airport operator BAA, British Airways and Nats – the UK's air traffic control service - had been working together in an attempt to optimise all stages of the flight process, with the aim of cutting carbon emissions and reducing delays.
By fully optimising all parts of the flight, the group believes it can save a quarter tonne of fuel, equating to nearly one tonne of CO2.
Data from the flight, which operated between Heathrow and Edinburgh airport, will now be collected and analysed, along with information from air traffic control, to understand the benefits.
Kel Kirkland, from Nats, said that it could be some time until the flight is replicated on a regular basis, but that the tests proved it was possible in the long term.
BAA Heathrow airside operations director Colin Wood added: "The benefits should include reduced taxi time, lower carbon emissions, improved air and noise quality and lower airline fuel costs."
During the test the aircraft was permitted to fly at its most fuel efficient altitude for longer than usual.
In 2009, the carbon footprint of Heathrow Airport was 2.31 million tonnes, including flights, travel to the airport and activities around the terminals.