Departure procedure for Airbus A380
Heathrow, NATS*, Singapore Airlines and Airbus have launched an improved departure procedure for the Airbus A380, saving even more fuel, emitting even less CO2 and remaining within the airport’s strict noise procedures. This new procedure saves an additional 300kg of fuel per flight, equating to one metric tonne of emissions of CO2 on a flight to Singapore, as well as reducing NOx emissions.
The companies worked together over the last year to develop the new airline procedure, which has been put into place immediately. A380s departing Heathrow now use less power when taking off, saving fuel and reducing NOx emissions. Once a height of 1,500 feet has been reached, the aircraft uses flexible acceleration up to 4,000 feet, before continuing its journey.
“The A380 represents the most significant step forward in reducing aircraft fuel burn and resultant emissions in four decades whilst offering greater comfort on board,” said Tom Williams, Executive Vice President Programmes, Airbus. “In fact, the A380 consumes less than three litres of fuel per passenger per 100 km.”
The A380 is also significantly quieter than other large aircraft. It produces half the noise energy at takeoff and cuts the area exposed to equivalent noise levels around the airport runway by half. At landing the A380 is producing three to four times less noise energy, contributing significantly to reduce the noise impact whilst enabling the airline to carry more passengers per flight.
Jane Dawes, Operational Noise and Air Quality Manager from Heathrow said, “The Airbus A380 is already the most fuel efficient aircraft in commercial service, burning 17 per cent less fuel per passenger than other large aircraft. By 2020 one in ten flights at Heathrow could use A380s. It is important that we work constantly with our airlines to improve operating processes, and the introduction of these new departure procedures demonstrates our commitment to reducing emissions.”
Said Captain Gerard Yeap, Senior Vice President Flight Operations, Singapore Airlines, “Our cooperation with Heathrow, NATS and Airbus goes to show what can be achieved when stakeholders share the same goal of reducing carbon emissions and fuel burn. Singapore Airlines is committed to playing its part in ensuring greener skies and sustainable air travel, and we hope this partnership will serve as a model for airport operators and governments elsewhere in the world.”
CO2 and fuel benefit is mostly coming from the new sequence of actions, i.e. early acceleration at 1,500 ft with green-dot up to 4,000 ft. Green dot being approximately the best lift to drag ratio speed, it provides in general the lowest fuel consumption up to 4,000 ft.
NOx benefit is coming from switching from TOGA to FLEX procedures. TOGA procedure is a procedure where the thrust lever is on the “Take-off Go-Around” position, meaning full thrust is used.. A FLEX procedure is when the thrust lever is on the “MCT/FLEX” position for take-off, meaning the thrust is adapted (reduced) to the actual aircraft take-off weight, in order to decrease engine stress and increase its under-wing life.
Singapore Airlines has now adopted optimum FLEX and early acceleration at 1,500 ft with green dot up to 4,000 ft as the current departure procedure.
* NATS provides air traffic control services to aircraft flying in UK airspace, and over the eastern part of the North Atlantic