Airline tickets prices to be cut dramatically as result of new Boeing Nextgen Tailored Arrivals : due to fuel saving efficiencies
Boeing does more than make aeroplanes. A major and little appreciated part of their enterprise involves making flying passengers and freight at lower cost. As the oil price soars, this brings greater rewards to their partners.
Boeing have just released details of their novel Air Traffic Management (ATM) concept called Tailored Arrivals at San Franscisoc Airport (The FAA call this Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) . From Dec. 4, 2007 to March 23, 2008, United Airlines, Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines completed 57 flights into SF International Airport that utilized a continuous descent rather than a series of level segments as now required. The Tailored Arrivals approach reduced fuel consumption during descents by up to 39 %, depending on airplane type, and total carbon emissions by more than 500,000 pounds.
Aircraft landings typicall take a stepped approach. A pilot reduces thrust and the plane starts to descend, then the pilot increases thrust to level off, repeating the cycle until the plane is on the ground. Constant acceleration and deceleration of the engines not only burns too much fuel, it creates a lot of noise, and increases emissions of gases like nitrous oxides, which is unpleasant for residents near airports.
With a continuous decent approach, a pilot lines up with the runway much earlier -- sometimes up to 40 miles away -- cuts the thrust once and descends at a consistent rate. If the stepped landing is a flight of stairs, then the continuous descent approach is a wheelchair ramp.
Whilst this is only a step on the way to what is grandiosely called the Next-Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) by the FAA, it shows the benefits of fully utilizing air-to-ground data link technology to descend into an airport with minimal direct air traffic control (ATC) intervention. Key technologies have been supplied by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and by NASA. The FAA's Ocean 21 system delivers data to and streamlines communications between flight crews and air traffic controllers. NASA's En-route Descent Adviser (EDA) computes fuel-efficient descent solutions.
The FAA is completely transforming air traffic control from a ground-based system of radars to a satellite-based system through the Next Generation (NextGen) Air Transportation System Integrated National Plan. NextGen is US$4 Bn. plan critically important because the current system will not be able to handle traffic that is expected to increase to one billion passengers by 2015 and double current levels by 2025.
Boeing 777-200ER and 747-400 airplanes were used and the full Tailored Arrival approaches reduced average fuel consumption of the 777s by 1,303 pounds per flight, or about 34 %. For the 747s, the savings was 2,291 pounds, or about 39 %.
On 119 additional flights, a partial use of the system showed fuel savings of 379 pounds per flight for the 777s and 1,100 pounds per flight for the 747s.
More trials will be undertaken later this year at Miami International Airport as part of a joint FAA -European Commission initiative to accelerate the practical implementation of transatlantic air traffic management improvements that can reduce both emissions and noise.
The prinipal feature and backbone of the FAA Nextgen approach is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADSB). ADS-B.
This is a satellite-based technology that broadcasts aircraft identification, position and speed with once-per-second updates. A national ADS-B program office has already been been established.
The Capstone program in Alaska, which uses ADS-B in a non-radar environment, has resulted in a 40% drop in general aviation accidents.
A partnership with the helicopter industry will bring ADS-B to the Gulf of Mexico in December 2009.
United Parcel Service has outfitted a fleet of 300 Boeing 757s and 767s with ADS-B for use at its Louisville hub, with similar services planned for Philadelphia. The airline is seeing a 30% reduction in noise and a 34% decline in emissions for ADS-B-equipped aircraft. The contract to deploy the ADS-B system was awarded to ITT on August 30.
There are multiple benefits to UPS, they can co-ordinate arrivals precisely and take advantage of continuous descent (in which they were pioneers in developing - reducing noise , nitrogen oxide emissions and saving fuel) , even without visual contact which can eliminate low level vectoring as traffic controllers juggle with multiple East and West coast flights. Bob Hilb, UPS's advanced flight systems manager says that if just 10% of the low-altitude maneuvers that are now occurring in the U.S. were eliminated, most airlines would be making a profit.
Bob also says "Consistency builds capacity" .. which applies to passengers or freight.
PS : The headline is a lie.