- SAS reduces emissions, noise pollution and saves on fuel costs
- Airline calls for greater international governmental support for emissions control
- “Green Landings” to be the future of more eco-friendly air travel
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is calling for greater international governmental support for aviation research and technology to help with managing the impact air travel has on the environment. The airline did so as it announces the ongoing success of “green landings”, set to be the future of aircraft landings across the world.
While governments continue to look to financial instruments such as taxes and charges to help the environment, SAS has been implementing a series of trials in Sweden working to find technological solutions to reduce the environmental impact of aviation travel.
Lars-Ove Filipson, General Manager United Kingdom & Ireland, Scandinavian Airlines said: “The UK Government’s recent increase in airport passenger duty imposes a greater financial burden on the travelling public, while there is still no proof that the UK tax will go toward environmental protection. This is a tax on passengers travelling from the UK and as such will do little to help the environment. Scandinavian Airlines has been working for the last year on an innovative approach to the future of air travel, and we believe governments around the world should be working with companies such as SAS in endeavours like our green landings initiative and not penalizing passengers with increased taxes.”
SAS recently became the first airline in the world to introduce green landings –also known as green approaches. Working with Stockholm Arlanda airport, SAS has invested in new technology which sets the aircraft’s landing time and exact runway specifications within minutes after takeoff. It allows landing times to be correctly calculated to within a few seconds of accuracy. When fully implemented up to 200 kg of fuel can be conserved on each landing compared with today’s operations, reducing the carbon emissions and dramatically cutting down noise levels.
SAS’ new technology allows for the landing time and requirement to be calculated at the time of take off and communicated to the controller at the destination airport. Landing is forecast by the aircrafts computer, taking into account prevailing weather conditions and the aircrafts exact weight and total mass. This information is provided through a continuous data link from the aircraft to the airport. With the new system, the landing sequence will be determined at an earlier stage, and the aircraft will be allowed to perform optimized descent with reduction in the engine revolutions.
Under ordinary commercial landing conditions at large airports carriers typically descend in stages causing the engines to throttle up. In many cases aircraft are forced to adopt a circular holding pattern in order to time the approach correctly. This results in excess fuel waste and increased carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere. SAS green landings not only reduce emissions but also serve to dramatically reduce noise levels for those living close to the airports.
These new, more accurate systems allow ground control more time to arrange the best landing slot, avoiding wasted fuel whilst the aircraft sits in holding patterns, circling the airport waiting for its turn to land.
SAS is leading the way in this unique project to increase efficiency and safety on flights while reducing environmental loads from air traffic. SAS’ green landings have come about through the successful collaboration between SAS Sweden, the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority, Boeing and Airbus and is part of a major EU project.
SAS’ inaugural green landing took place on 19 January 2006 on a flight from Luleå to Stockholm and to date SAS has successfully carried out over 700 green landings at Stockholm Arlanda. The pilot project will continue in Sweden until September 2007, and a large programme leading to green landings throughout Sweden has already been initiated. All the green landing test flights have been carried out on SAS’ Boeing 737 aircraft.
SAS customers are able to contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 kg and nitrogen oxide emissions by over 1kg per landing, meaning that since the inception of the trial SAS has successfully conserved 210,000 kg of carbon dioxide and 700 kg of nitrogen oxide.
“SAS is exceptionally proud of our green landing initiative. We hope to extend this project to other airports in Europe. We aim to have green landings operating at all Swedish airports by the end of 2010 and foresee this being the future of aircraft landings across the world,” says flight captain Peter Larsson, SAS Project Leader.
“Environmental responsibility is a shared one. Finding the solution to curbing carbon emissions from aircraft should not sit with airlines alone. Airport controllers, government, fuel production companies and others in Britain and across the world need to look to alternative methods of fuel consumption and innovative technology – such as our green landings – to help curb emissions” said Peter Larsson.
This project is unprecedented in both its scope and innovation and makes SAS the world leader in the most crucial area of aviation development in the 21st centaury - conserving the environment and ensuring that modern aviation continues to benefit society in an ethically responsible manner.