Our performance in the air and the way we operate our aircraft make a big difference to the effect we have upon the environment.
Emirates has invested in one of the best flight planning systems available, to carefully plan flights and optimise routes. By working with our partners at Airservices Australia (ASA) to use non-fixed (flexible) air traffic routes that are optimised for the prevailing weather, we save time, fuel and emissions – every day.
The Flextracks programme with ASA allows Emirates to use this technology on flights between Dubai and Australia. Over one year, we selected 592 flights between Dubai, Melbourne and Sydney to examine how this technology is working.
Looking just at our eastbound flights, Emirates managed to save 628 tonnes of fuel and 57 hours in trip time, over this period. Every minute of flying time saved further reduces fuel consumption by an average of 62 litres and also reduces CO2 emissions by 160kg – as less fuel needs to be carried (therefore less weight). The average saving per flight was six minutes of trip time and one tonne of trip fuel. Analysing one recent flight from Dubai to Sydney, using this optimal air traffic management, we saved 8,040kg of fuel and 43 minutes of flight time. This equates to an emissions saving of over 6,800kg of CO2.
Emirates is the only airline using flexible routing on flights between Dubai and São Paolo in Brazil. The results are impressive in terms of reduced fuel burn, emissions and time savings. Using iFlex technology on flights from Dubai to São Paolo, Emirates saves up to 18 minutes of flight time and 7,700kg of CO2. We are working with IATA to implement these kinds of flexible routing systems across the world, as standard operating procedure.
Rerouting en route
Some governments allow us to use new Emirates own technology to modify the route of a flight once airborne. This is especially important for ultra-long flights, where upper-level winds and meteorological parameters can change quickly – updating these regularly enables flight plans to be changed en route. This technology allows Emirates Flight Dispatchers to re-run the flight plan from a waypoint while the aircraft is en route, generating a computer-optimised route, based on updated weather conditions. It can also be used when airspace restrictions are lifted while an aircraft is en route, thus improving efficiency. These rerouting procedures allow us to save time, fuel and emissions. Emirates now has route improvement (route shortenings) based on Emirates proposals with Australia, the Ukraine, Russia, Malé, Indonesia and parts of Africa. Our Flight Operations team meets regularly with governments to further improve route structures to save fuel and emissions. In addition, one African route - 'the gold route' - has been taken up by ICAO and relevant states. It saves time and reduced fuel consumption on flights to West Africa and South America.
Tailored arrivals and Continuous Descent on Approach (CDA)
Emirates also invests in projects such as ‘tailored arrivals.’ This is a concept that allows air traffic control in some countries to uplink to aircraft en route. Determining the speed and flight profile from top of descent onto the runway allows the Emirates crew to accept and fly a continuous descent profile, saving fuel and emissions – rather than the traditional ‘stepped’ descent on approach. Australia is a leader in advancing this technology with Emirates, and many European states are now following suit. Emirates is also working with local civil aviation authorities to develop these approaches in countries such as Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon.