How we fly our planes

The way we purchase and operate our aircraft can make a big difference to the environment

Our Flight Operations team therefore plays a critical role in managing and minimizing fuel and emissions.

There are many areas of the world where we need to work with different authorities to allow us to fly as efficiently as possible. However we have made much progress in recent years, including:

How we fly - new ultra-efficient aircraft technology to save time, fuel and emissions


Emirates invests in what we believe is the best flight planning system to allow us to carefully plan flights and optimize routes. By working with our partners at Airservices Australia to use non-fixed air traffic routes that are optimized for the prevailing weather, we save time, fuel and therefore emissions every day.

Example: Using this technology, called Flextracks, consider our flights from Dubai to Melbourne and Sydney. Over one year, we selected 592 flights between Dubai and Melbourne and Sydney to examine how this technology is working.

Looking just at our eastbound flights, Emirates managed to save 628 tons of fuel and 57 hours in trip time (every minute of flying-time saved reduces fuel consumption by an average of 62 liters and also saves C02 emissions by 160 kilograms). The average saving per flight was six minutes of trip time and one ton of trip fuel. Analyzing one recent flight from Dubai to Sydney, using this optimal air traffic management, we saved 8040kg of fuel and 43 minutes of flight time. This equates to more than 6,800 kilograms of C02 saved.

Re-routing on route

Some governments allow us to use new Emirates technology to modify the route of a flight once airborne. This is especially important for ultra long flights where upper-level winds and parameters, on which the flight plans are based, are updated each six hours and can therefore change. This technology allows Emirates Flight Dispatchers to re-run the flight plan from a waypoint en route and allow the computer to optimize the route based on updated weather. It can also be used when airspace restrictions are in place when the plan was first filled is subsequently lifted, thus improving efficiency. All of this allows us to save time, fuel and emissions.

Example: we now have route improvement (route shortenings) based on Emirates proposals with Australia, the Ukraine, Russia, Male, Indonesia and parts of Africa. Our flight operation team meets with governments regularly 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 and we hope should be introduced soon. It will save time on flights to West Africa and South America.

Tailored arrivals

Emirates also invests in projects such as 'tailored arrivals'. This is a concept in some countries that allows air traffic control to uplink to aircraft on route. Determining the speed and flight profile from top of descent onto the runway, this then allows the Emirates crew to accept and fly a continuous descent profile, saving fuel and emissions. Australia is a leader in advancing this technology with Emirates.

Example: in addition to Australia, we are developing these approaches in Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and Lebanon.

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