In what may be a sign of things to come in air travel, the first transatlantic flight optimized from start to finish with reduced noise and emissions levels flew from Paris to Miami yesterday.
The flight, which departed Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 11:15 a.m. and touched down in Miami at 2:45 p.m. local time, is known as a “green flight,” and was operated by Air France Boeing 747-400ER. The flight was the end result of a cooperation between players involved in transatlantic flights, namely Aéroports de Paris, the French DGAC civil aviation authority, NATS, NAV Portugal, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), SESAR Joint Undertaking and Air France.
During the nine-and-a-half-hour flight, procedures were activated to improve the aircraft’s energy efficiency. These optimized procedures reduced fuel consumption (and hence carbon dioxide emissions) throughout the flight, from taxiing at Paris-Charles de Gaulle to arrival on the parking stand in Miami.The coordinated application of these procedures during the flight cut CO2 emissions by six-nine metric tons and saved two-three metric tons of jetfuel.
Some of the procedures included:
- Shorter taxiing times, coordinated with Aéroports de Paris at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and with the FAA at Miami airport;
- Continuous climb, coordinated with DSNA, the DGAC’s air traffic control authority;
- During the cruise phase, optimum altitude and speed were constantly selected to cut fuel consumption in conjunction with en route air traffic control centres in France (DSNA,) the UK (NATS,) Portugal (NAV Portugal) and the US (FAA);
- Continuous descent, coordinated by US air traffic control (FAA).
During the departure and arrival phases, the procedures used also helped minimize noise levels by up to 7dB (a reduction of 3dB is the equivalent of halving noise levels.)
When these optimizations are applicable to all Air France long-haul flights to and from North America, CO2 emissions will be cut by 135,000 metric tons per year, with fuel savings of 43,000 metric tons.