The SESAR Optimised Descent Profiles (ODP) project was the winner in the Environment Category of IHS Jane’s ATC Awards, which were announced during the World ATM Congress in Madrid on 7 March. ODP was a joint project of European air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and airlines conducted under the leadership of the German ANSP DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung. Prof. Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS, received the award on behalf of the consortium.
The aim of the project was to develop more efficient descent profiles and reduce the environmental impact in busy and complex airspaces and across borders without compromising safety and capacity aspects.
The optimum arrival is a continuous descent. In highly-frequented airspaces, which are shaped by national borders and handover points, this optimum is not always possible. Existing arrival flows can, however, often be improved. Instead of fixed waypoints, precise level windows can be defined and programmed in the flight management system of the aircraft. Another way of improving vertical flight efficiency is to remain at cruising altitude for a longer period of time before descending, since fuel consumption is lower at higher levels. The project also used flexible seasonal or runway dependent handover procedures.
Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS, said: “Each and every descent profile optimisation counts and contributes to a more efficient and sustainable air transport in Europe. This award confirms the benefits achieved by the good collaboration between air navigation service providers and airlines for the sake of stakeholders, passengers and society as a whole.”
A total of 11,467 demonstration flights to nine airports in Europe were conducted. On an annual basis, these optimised flows have the potential to generate fuel savings of 3,400 tonnes, which equals more than 10,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions according to calculations by EUROCONTROL. Half of the 33 analysed flows have already been permanently implemented; seven are published in the Aeronautical Information Publication. Real savings achieved with the project’s demonstration flights amounting to 86 tonnes of fuel and a reduction of 270 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking remarked: "The ODP project represented an excellent opportunity to demonstrate more widely the considerable savings in terms of fuel and emissions that are possible with optimised arrival flows. It is clear that procedures like these will be key to achieving a high performing aviation across Europe in the coming years.”
ODP was conducted in the framework of SESAR Integrated Flight Trial and Demonstration Activities and co-funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking. It was conducted under the leadership of the DFS, together with the ANSPs of Austria (Austro Control), France (DSNA) and Switzerland (skyguide), as well as EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC). Air France (plus HOP!), Deutsche Lufthansa (together with the affiliated Austrian Airlines and Germanwings) and Swiss International Airlines conducted the demonstration flights to the airports of Basel, Berlin Tegel, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich.
The Jane’s ATC Awards are annually given to outstanding projects and developments by the magazine IHS Jane’s Airport Review.
As the technological pillar of the Single European Sky initiative, SESAR aims to modernise and harmonise air traffic management in Europe. The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) was established in 2007 as a public-private partnership to support this endeavour. It does so by pooling the knowledge and resources of the entire ATM community in order to define, research, develop and validate innovative technological and operational solutions. The SJU is also responsible for the execution of the European ATM Master Plan. Founded by the European Union and Eurocontrol, the SESAR JU currently has 15 members, who together with their partners and affiliate associations represent over 80 companies working in Europe and beyond. The SESAR JU also works closely with staff associations, regulators, airport operators and the scientific community.
Find out more: www.sesarju.eu
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,550 employees as at 31 December 2016. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at 16 international airports in Germany. The DFS subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH (DAS), provides air navigation services as well as consultancy services. www.dfs.de