24 SEPTEMBER 2012
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NATS, the UK’s provider of air traffic services and solutions, has signed a contract with British Airways to lead a pioneering project trialling environmentally ‘perfect’ transatlantic flights.
The project, entitled ‘Topflight’, will look to put into operational practice something that has only previously been possible in single, one-off flights. Phase one will see 60 transatlantic flights where many factors within the journey – from pushback from the stand and taxiing to an optimised flight profile and continuous descent approach – has been optimised to achieve minimal emissions and delay.
It is expected that each optimised trip will save approximately 500kg in fuel – the equivalent to 1.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The British Airways flights will take place between Heathrow and a number of North American airports over the course of four months. The second phase of the project will then look to introduce multiple ‘perfect’ flights crossing the Atlantic simultaneously. The aim is to prove that the concept is scalable and can be implemented for many flights at the same time without penalising those in the surrounding airspace.
‘Topflight’ is a SESAR project, the technical and operational component of the European Community’s Single European Sky initiative, which aims to modernise and harmonise air traffic management systems across Europe. www.sesarju.eu
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