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AIRE is designed to speed up application of new technologies and operational procedures

American Airlines flight to prove fuel and carbon saving benefits of nextgen technology on trans-atlantic toute

When American Airlines Flight 63 departed Paris for Miami at 10 a.m. local time yesterday, it embarked upon a journey that aims to prove that trans-Atlantic flights can be operated a bit greener and leaner. Through Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE), American will be the first U.S. airline to test next-generation technology and procedures that will significantly reduce carbon emissions and save fuel on trans-Atlantic routes. The testing will be conducted during a normally scheduled flight so American can obtain real-time benefits.

AIRE, a joint initiative between the FAA, the European Commission and several airlines, is designed to speed up application of new technologies and operational procedures, which have a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution as well as conserving fuel. Part of the AIRE project includes gate-to-gate flight demonstrations to test the benefits of technologies that will be used with the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system.

“It is critical that the aviation industry work with our Air Traffic Control partners to demonstrate the benefits of NextGen technology today. By implementing this technology as quickly as possible, we can make real and meaningful strides to reduce our impact on the environment, increase system capacity and reduce air traffic delays,” said Bob Reding, American’s Executive Vice President – Operations. “Utilising NextGen technology is a crucial part of American’s overall environmental and fuel savings efforts. These efforts have already yielded fuel savings of more than 110 million gallons annually and reduced our carbon emissions by 2.3 billion pounds in 2008.”

Using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, American Flight 63 will fly from Paris Charles De Gaulle and arrive at Miami International Airport at 1:55 p.m. EDT. The flight will conduct several fuel conservation measures, including single-engine taxi on departure and arrival, continuous climb out and descent, optimised routing over water and a ‘tailored arrival’. Several of these endeavours are already key elements of Fuel Smart, American’s ongoing employee fuel conservation program. In 2009, American aims to save 120 million gallons of jet fuel and reduce its carbon emissions by 2.5 billion pounds.

Post-flight data analysis by the FAA, European Commission and American will determine the carbon and fuel savings gained on the demonstration flight. The FAA and AA will then conduct a two-month trial in Miami to continue testing the next-generation technology and procedures.

American has long been a leader in optimising air travel efficiency over the Atlantic. In fact, more than 20 years ago, American pioneered the routine use of two-engine aircraft on trans-oceanic flights, which fundamentally changed air operations. Up to that point, almost all international flights were flown by three- and four-engine aircraft. American’s efforts to open up the Atlantic to two-engine aircraft resulted in the almost universal shift by Boeing and Airbus to use two-engine aircraft for international flights. This resulted in a significant reduction in carbon emissions from older aircraft and greater fuel efficiency across the industry.