Air France and Airbus combine renewable fuel and air traffic management technologies to cut CO2 in half on demo flight
Air France and Airbus have combined the latest fuel and air traffic management technologies in a commercial flight from Toulouse-Blagnac to Paris-Orly using an Airbus A321 to demonstrate the cutting in half of CO2 emitted compared to a regular flight, according to the partners.
The commercial flight (AF6129) combined for the first time the use of bio-fuels (50% in each engine), optimized air traffic management (ATM) and efficient Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) to minimize CO2 emissions. Combining these technologies helped half the overall CO2 emissions to 54 grams per passenger and kilometre. This is equivalent to a fuel efficiency of 2.2 liters of fuel per passenger per 100 km.
This flight is the perfect example of Airbus’ global approach towards continuously reducing aviation’s CO2 footprint. This is not just a bio-fuel flight but the first flight that really puts into practice elements in the Airbus roadmap: bio-fuels, optimized ATM, green navigation.—Andrea Debbane, Airbus Head Environmental Affairs
Airbus’ alternative fuel strategy is to speed up its commercialization through sustainable biofuel value chains. Thanks to several test flights and collaboration with the fuels standards bodies (ASTM and DefStan), today the use of 50% biofuel blends are authorized in commercial flights.
A more efficient ATM system could also help reduce the amount of fuel burned by aircraft and therefore the CO2 emitted. Airbus strongly supports the streamlining of ATM and has launched a new subsidiary company, called “Airbus ProSky”, dedicated to the development and support of modern air traffic management (ATM) systems to achieve the highest operational efficiencies with more direct routings resulting in around 10% less aircraft fuel consumption, as well as significant reductions in CO2 and noise emissions.
CDA is becoming more widespread as a way to reduce fuel burn. During a CDA procedure, the aircraft descends continuously, avoiding level flight prior to the final approach and requires significantly less engine thrust and therefore less fuel burn.