As part of its ongoing commitment towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Emirates has flown a demonstration flight carrying the UAE Delegation to the 2011 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, South Africa (28 November – 9 December 2011.
Through close coordination with air navigation providers in seven countries between the UAE and South Africa, Emirates was able to use techniques in-air and on the ground to reduce flight emissions and save over 5 tonnes of CO2 compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan.
This was the first flight over the African continent for the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) programme, which brings airlines, airports and air navigation service providers together to implement a range of best practice operational procedures to allow a ‘perfect flight.’
These flights incorporate techniques to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, such as flying the most direct and optimum route between departure and destination. It also includes using ground power (instead of the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, which burns jet fuel), minimising on-ground delays, utilising expedient taxi and preferential runways, conducting uninterrupted climb and descent paths.
The UAE delegation were welcomed at King Shaka International Airport by Mr. Patrick Dlamini, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Traffic and Navigation Services South Africa (ATNS), the Board of Directors and Executive Committee members of South Africa’s Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), as the plane touched down just after 17:00 (local time) on Sunday afternoon. ATNS organised the flight in conjunction with Emirates.
“Initiatives such as INSPIRE, which bring together closer cooperation between South Africa and the airlines that serve it, support the people of South Africa by protecting our incredible natural environment: be it on the ground, at the airports, or above the clouds at 35,000 feet,” stated Mr. Dlamini. “ATNS works closely with airlines such as Emirates to ensure the skies of South Africa are safe and open. Controlling approximately 10% of the world’s air space, ATNS plays a key role in establishing good environmental policies.”
The aircraft used for the INSPIRE flight from Dubai to Durban was a Boeing 777-300ER, one of the most fuel efficient aircraft types in Emirates’ fleet. An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER has a fuel efficiency rate of 3.67 litres per one hundred passenger kilometres, some 32% better than the global fleet average, as measured by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It is comparable to the fuel efficiency rates of modern compact cars.
“It was a privilege to have arrived in Durban for COP 17 on the Emirates airline test flight which emitted less greenhouse gases by using efficient flight paths and other techniques. UAE carriers and aerospace entities have taken the lead in the industry by conducting such test flights under the INSPIRE programme,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.
“Although the aviation industry is only responsible for approximately 2% of global GHG emissions, these types of initiatives remain important to curbing climate change. UAE airlines are undertaking various programmes in this effort, in addition to Emirates, Etihad Airways chairs the IATA Environment Committee and is supporting R&D with the Masdar Institute in developing aerospace biofuels using feed stock harvested in Abu Dhabi. It is the efforts of carriers such as Emirates and Etihad, along with organizations across the UAE, that will make a long-term positive change in international aviation’s environmental record,” added Dr. Al Jaber.
The Emirates INSPIRE flight was made possible by close cooperation from Air Traffic Control in Kenya, Oman, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, South Africa, the UAE and Yemen; Dubai Airports; Dubai Air Navigation Services; the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority – Sheik Zayed Centre; ATNS South Africa, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, and other staff and agencies.
As passengers and partners across the industry are looking for ways to minimise their environmental impact, Emirates is working hard to address these concerns. The airline has been operating reduced-emissions flights in the Indian Ocean region since 2003. Emirates was also a key member in the ‘Flex Tracks’ (a flight route planning and airspace management program) initiative over the airspace of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, along with other industry stakeholders such as Air Services Australia.
In the first five years alone, Emirates’ participation in the Flex Tracks scheme has resulted in fuel savings of 10 million litres of fuel and more than 722 hours of flight time. The fuel burn reductions also delivered savings of 26,644 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 163 tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Article taken from Travel Daily News. Read original version.