View Full Version : Smoother ATC to sve gas?

15th Jul 2005, 11:11
Better air traffic control would save fuel- IATA
A call by G8 leaders for improved fuel efficiency in planes can be answered in part by managing air traffic more smoothly, airline association IATA said on Wednesday.

"Worldwide, airlines could reduce their fuel consumption by up to 18 percent with optimised air traffic control," Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said in a statement.

That would also prevent millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, he added.

Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations, at a summit in Scotland last week, called for accelerated efforts to reduce air transport emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

Bisignani said leaders would help by backing the consolidation of Europe's air traffic systems: "There is no reason why a Europe that can agree on one major currency needs 35 providers of air navigation control services."

As Europe moves closer to the 2008-2012 timeframe it has set for meeting its 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse emission reduction targets, aviation is among the industries under pressure to help meet the goals.

With air traffic in Europe set to double by 2020, planemakers such as Airbus and engine makers such as the UK's Rolls-Royce are working on more efficient designs.

"Broadly, the industry has been able to bring down aircraft fuel consumption by about 1 percent a year for the last three decades. Each time you do that it means saving 80,000 gallons of fuel for every plane every year," said Martin Johnson, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce.

Europe's aerospace industry has set collective targets to make sure it complies with governmental goals.

By 2020, the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE) has four targets: To reduce fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent, to cut noise by 50 percent and to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and maintaining aircraft.

Bisignani said the challenge for airlines was to become more efficient without impeding growth, given that air travel is a driver of tourism and commerce.

"The G8 outlined a common sense approach for aviation and climate change focused on efficiency... The challenge is to achieve the G8's goals while building on civil aviation's valuable contribution of 4.5 percent of global GDP," he said.

Geneva-based IATA represents 275 airlines from 136 countries representing over 98 percent of scheduled international traffic.

Adrian Dumsa
15th Jul 2005, 18:50
Giovanni’s observations about the effectiveness of the ATC organisation – i.e., the number of ATC providers - in Europe stem from the very real problem the airlines - in fact the whole aviation community – are facing as a result of spiraling fuel costs.

Crude oil hit USD$62.10 a barrel last week – from around USD$10.00 a barrel 2 ˝ years ago, USD$30.00 1 ˝ years ago, and USD$40.00 a barrel just a year ago.

The notional break-even point for airlines is around $35.00 a barrel. At that price, the total airline fuel bill is around USD$40BN. At $47 a barrel it is around USD$80BN – and at $60 a barrel it will be over USD$100BN.

Total airline operating costs are around USD$400BN a year – and fuel has crept from around 10-12% of operating cost, to around 18-22% - and it is a higher percentage of low cost carrier costs.

There are lots of things that can be done at the operational level – and IATA is working with airlines and air navigation service providers to try to ameliorate the fuel effect. Reduction in the amount of fuel burned is an obvious direct cost saver.

The pilots out there know that operating practices, levels of maintenance, and awareness of fuel conservation measures can have an effect ranging from 1% to 15% in terms of fuel burn.

ATC can also have a significant effect – not only strategically in terms of route structures and procedures, but also in terms of tactical handling of aircraft.

I have to say that having spent the last two years in Montreal, dealing with a range of airlines and ATC organisations, I use my experience with Australia’s pilots and controllers as examples of ways that things should or could be done – despite some of the “good natured banter” on PPRUNE, there is an excellent sense of professionalism amongst the aviation community in Australia. This is far from evident in some of the places we work.

IATA has a fuel web site – www.iata.org/fuelaction . There is a fuel best practices book at this site – I’d be really interested if anyone – pilot or controller – has any other ideas for fuel conservation that we could promote globally.

15th Jul 2005, 23:16
Surely trying to make a fuel difference via ATC is faffing around the edges of the problem?
I don't have any empirical data, but you don't have to be Einstein to work out that airline scheduling would have a far greater impact on fuel consumption. After all, isn't almost all "ATC delay" the result of scheduling practices? Slot times are just a way of modifying schedules.
Where I work here, a certain big airline will launch 15 aircraft one after the other, as fast as they can, all expecting the same route and the same level, into procedural airspace. The resultant inefficiencies created (when they all meet their competitors a/c as well, meaning maybe 20% of the aircraft in that area are anywhere near their optimum level, for hours and hours) are mind boggling. Then they all get to their destinations and hold, because the 30-odd companies operating flights into that field have all scheduled to arrive at the same time. When the company is approached, they say they would rather take-off on time and go into an en-route hold, than wait on the ground for a start clearance.
Tackle the problem, not the symptom.

ATC fuel saving? It's a bit like your boss asking you to use less pens in order to save money, while he burns $100 bills to boil his kettle.

15th Jul 2005, 23:49
This reminds me of these new Flex Tracks over Oz mainland. They get to the holding pattern for the SY AM curfew 20 minutes sooner.

18th Jul 2005, 09:15
I wasn't aware that air traffic controllers were part of the airline industry. Our job is to prevent collisions between airliners that are either government subsidised, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection or engaged in screwing their staff to make a buck for their shareholders. The last tradition is now being taken up with feverish gusto by CANSO members who are intent on screwing the air traffic controllers (See recent activity in US, Canada and Australia) to further ingratiate the transitory managing accountants with what they hope will be their next employers.

Airlines generously reward all of those who they consider to be part of the airline industry. With a few notable exceptions they do not include air traffic controllers. (To those exceptions I would add, it works, you are always number one and I will save you as much fuel as I can) To the rest I will continue my anti-collision services, the holding point is a very safe place to be.

18th Jul 2005, 09:35
Very professional of you, Mr. Proach. Very professional, indeed.

It's interesting to know the guys in the tower (etc) never let their personal feelings get in the way when issuing ideas to the drivers of the metal, heavy or otherwise, full of paying passengers who also expect nothing but professionalism from those whose wages they pay.

In case your resentment at being left out of the airline equation by some operators has clouded your judgement, I will point out that the above is intended sarcastically.

Hopefully your boss will read this and put you on ATIS duties forever.

Hey now I know why the old hag in the airport newsagency always makes me wait til last to serve me. She's cheesed off that I made the decision she will never be a part of the "airline industry". Good on her, I'd do the same...... :rolleyes: Airlines generously reward all of those who they consider to be part of the airline industryHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA..........!!!

Nice one, I liked that line the most!!! :ok:



19th Jul 2005, 04:07
Interesting point MrApproach. I tried explaining this phenomenon to an airline accountant not two weeks ago. I asked him whether he thought losing $500 a day (or $100,000 per annum) in gas to every controller who felt hard done by (a conservative estimate I'm sure you'll agree), was preferable to giving them a $200 discount on an airfare to London once every couple of years. Do you know what he said? Yes. Because the $100,000 is hidden in "operating fees" and never has to be individually accounted for, but the $200 would. Go figure.....

Uncommon Sense
20th Jul 2005, 01:34
Inconsistent with agency policy of NOT clearing direct, or letting controllers use their initiative (experience) to reduce the tracking. It must be done by the mighty computer. Whilst the rules are feverishly written by those that do not understand them I can't see much changing. The controllers have the abilities - but they are handcuffed by the policies.

Scrubed: I think it is YOU that missed the sarcasm to start with. Tool.

(ATC do not get any travel benefits for the record. If they did who would want to sit with knees under chin with the smellies for hours anyway?)

20th Jul 2005, 06:08
Thanks uncommon sense, sarcasm aside, as you and every controller knows the reality is that we bust a gut to make sure our sector or tower is the most efficient as well as the safest. That's where we get our satisfaction of having done an important job, well. The point I'm making is that the "airline" industry typically does not recognise that we, the individuals, even make a contribution to their bottom line. If they did they would extend the same privileges they do to freight forwarders, travel agents etc.

I'm sure that ex-controllers like Adrian Dumsa recognise that there are an awful lot of people out there going the extra yard, above and beyond their primary responsibility. My post wasn't aimed at him. I'm sure we all find it hard to believe that Europe can agree on a common currency but not on a common airspace, while their leaders
piously pontificate about bringing down air transport emissions.

22nd Jul 2005, 02:26
Save Gas???

Last time I looked Aeroplanes ran on liquid fuel.

I still can't work out why American aircraft run on gas though :ok: