An Airbus-led partnership with Air France and the air navigation service providers from the UK, Canada and the U.S.—respectively, NATS, Nav Canada and the FAA—plan soon to begin Transatlantic Green Flight (TGF) trials with an Air France A380 on revenue flights from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG). Under a recent contract from the Sesar (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking (SJU), the A380 TGF trials form part of the second wave the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (Aire2). The European Commission and the FAA launched the first phase, Aire, in June 2007 at the Paris Air Show.
Airbus expects the TGF flights to take place over a six- to eight-week period starting during the fourth quarter. The trials will cover the “optimization” of the taxi-out procedure at JFK airport, as well as the en route leg over the Atlantic. Airbus expects the measures to cut CO2 emissions by around three tons per A380 flight, 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,” said 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.”
As part of the TGF, 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, where the A380 would taxi with only two of its four engines running. Meanwhile, NATS and Nav Canada will arrange for more speed, altitude and lateral routing flexibility during the Atlantic portion of the flight. The “optimized” trajectory will take advantage of the A380’s high optimum cruise altitude of 39,000 feet and above.
Airbus also expects to serve as a partner in two further Aire2 trials: “Vinga” and “Green Shuttle.” Vinga, which builds on the experience of last year’s Aire “Mint” flight trials (with Novair and Swedish Air Navigation Service provider LFV), will now for the first time validate a transition from a curved RNP 0.3 arrival to an ILS approach at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport. Meanwhile, the Green Shuttle project, in partnership with Air France and the French air navigation service provider DSNA, seeks to optimize all phases of the airline’s “La Navette” flights between Paris-Orly and Toulouse, operated with A320-family aircraft.