Iberia makes tests during flights to optimize routes and save fuel
Wednesday 23, March 2011
Iberia has carried out its first tests during flights as part of the DORIS (Dynamic Optimization of the Route In Flight) program, whose aim is to optimize routes between Europe and North America, improving the efficiency of North Atlantic air space, thanks to improvements in communications and to flight plans that are modified after takeoff, and take into account the latest weather conditions.
On the ground the best route is sought on the basis of winds, and if one is found that is more favourable than that in the original flight plan, the aircraft is advised so that the course may be altered in real time, as long as it is authorized to do so by air traffic control.
Initial analyses indicate that an average of 2 per cent of fuel per flight may be saved. For an Airbus A340 like those used by Iberia on transatlantic routes, this would amount to a savings of some 400 kg of aviation fuel on a flight from Madrid to Guatemala City, for example.
Iberia takes part in the DORIS program along with Spain's AENA and Portugal's NAV air traffic control authorities, and such companies as SENASA, INECO and Air Europa. DORIS is an initiative of the AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions) program, within the framework of the cooperation agreement between the US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the European Commission, aimed at reducing the environmental impact of commercial aviation.
Iberia participates in another AIRE program called RETACDA (Reduction of Emissions in Terminal Areas using Continuous Descent Approaches), that consists of using continuous or "green" landing approaches at low engine speeds. This practice cuts fuel consumption and can lower CO2 emissions by as much as 25 per cent, while reducing noise to a minimum.
Iberia was the first airline in Spain to use such approaches and it took part in the initial phase of the project with more than 600 continuous descents at the Madrid-Barajas airport, all of them at night, and when permitted by weather and traffic density conditions.
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