The partners of an Airbus-led project called CRISTAL ITP (In-trail Procedure)
have successfully carried out
an in-flight demonstration of a flexible new procedure for oceanic airspace that saves fuel and reduces emissions during
The new in-trail procedure will enable aircraft to more easily perform altitude changes during cruise which can significantly improve flight
efficiency, reducing fuel burn and emissions. When an aircraft is not at its optimal altitude, aircraft fuel consumption and emissions are
increased. As fuel is burned, the aircraft weight is reduced, and the aircraft then needs to climb to maintain its optimum cruise efficiency.
Additionally, favourable winds can be found at higher or lower altitudes.
The demonstration flight took place in late March using Airbus' own A340 test aircraft and an SAS A330, performing the trial in Icelandic
airspace. Iceland is a unique location where oceanic operations are carried out within radar coverage thus ensuring the complete safety of
During the test, the A340 performed several altitude changes relative to the SAS A330 using a new aircraft system fitted on the A340 and
including an Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems Traffic Computer. Using this system the pilot was able to receive on
his navigation display all the flight identification and positioning information regarding the surrounding aircraft. This new system, based on
ADS-B (Automatic Dependant Surveillance - Broadcast), a new air-to-ground and air-to-air surveillance technology used to transmit aircraft
information, is currently being certified by Airbus.
This new demonstration is a significant step towards more flexible operations in an oceanic environment, enabled by new aircraft
technologies and more efficient pilot-controller collaboration. Currently these kinds of maneuvers are rarely possible in oceanic airspace
due to the lack of radar systems. With the new technology, the flight crew can provide the controller with accurate information about their
position relative to other aircraft. With the In Trail Procedure, the controller will use this information to allow altitude changes with reduced
separations, providing more climbing opportunities.
The results of these trials will further strengthen Airbus' experience in this field as well as benefit other European projects Airbus is
supporting that aim to reduce fuel burn and emissions such as the Atlantic Interoperability initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE), a joint
initiative between the European Commission and the US Federal Aviation Administration.
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