Airbus to start 'green flight' trials with A380

Airbus, in partnership with Air France and air navigation service providers from UK, Canada and the USA, is about to commence ‘Transatlantic Green Flight’ (TGF) trials with an Air France A380 on commercial flights from New York to Paris.

The A380 TGF trials are part of the second phase of the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to reduce Emissions – AIRE2. The first phase, AIRE, was launched by the European Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 2007.

The TGF flights are scheduled to take place over 6-8 weeks, starting in the fourth quarter of 2010. They will cover the optimisation of the taxi-out procedure at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport in New York, as well as the en-route leg over the Atlantic.

Overall it is estimated that each A380 flight can reduce CO2 emissions by around 3 tonnes, compared with existing procedures.

“These transatlantic flight trials will help to move the industry towards more efficient operational concepts and sustainable growth over the longer term,” says Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus. “What we trial today with the A380 will contribute to setting tomorrow’s standards, thanks to system-wide Air Traffic Management improvements prepared by programmes like SESAR and NextGen.”

TGF operational contributions
The FAA will support Air France to start each trial with a fuel-saving ‘reduced engine taxi’ from the gate to the runway at JFK. This will be enabled via estimates of taxi time, allowing for A380 taxiing powered by only 2 of its 4 engines. Meanwhile, NATS and Nav Canada will facilitate the Atlantic portion of the flight which will reduce CO2 emissions through an optimised trajectory where more flexibility will be arranged for speed, altitude and lateral routing. This trajectory takes advantage of the A380’s high optimum cruise altitude of 39 000 ft and above.

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