October 21, 2014, 4:27 PM
Air France served as lead airline for the Engage II trials over the North Atlantic. (Photo: Air France)
Nav Canada, UK NATS and Air France said they have demonstrated that aircraft can safely change their flight profiles to cross North Atlantic airspace more efficiently. The so-called Engage II project will lead to “significant changes” in oceanic procedures, Nav Canada said October 17.
The aim of Engage II was to prove the viability ofconcepts tested in the project’s first phase in 2011, in which aircraft crossing the North Atlantic progressively changed their altitudes and/or Mach speeds as they burned fuel to achieve more efficient overall flight profiles. Nav Canada’s Gander, Newfoundland, and UK NATS Prestwick, Scotland, ATC facilities coordinated and tracked flights using radar and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) position reports outside radar coverage.
The first phase of the project consisted of 25 flights, whereas Engage II logged 210. Along with lead carrier Air France, KLM, British Airways, United and Delta participated in the second phase. Fuel and emissions savings per flight averaged between one and two percent, representing a reduction of 200 to 400 liters of fuel and 525 to 1,050 kg of greenhouse-gas emissions, Nav Canada said.
“While validating the overall safety of varying oceanic flight profiles, we were able to replicate the fuel savings and greenhouse-gas emission reductions achieved in Engage I,” said Larry Lachance, Nav Canada vice president of operations. “Moreover we were able to demonstrate the viability of a wider implementation of these procedures and offering more flexibility in the [North Atlantic] airspace.”
Earlier this year during a meeting in Paris, an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) body called the North Atlantic Systems Planning Group endorsed an amendment Iceland proposed to North Atlantic regional procedures “that would allow some aircraft to fly at variable speeds,” by removing a “fixed Mach” requirement, Nav Canada said. “The amendment will now proceed to ICAO for formal processing and documentation,” the air navigation service provider added.
Engage stands for “Europe and North America Go ADS-B for a Greener Environment.” The Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking supported the project as part of its Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions program.