FAA To Increase
Efficiency And Reduce Aircraft Emissions In N.C. Airspace
By Shane Nolan
March 3, 2012 - Acting Federal Aviation Administrator
Michael Huerta and aviation partners kicked off a
collaborative effort to make air traffic control more
efficient, help airlines improve on-time performance,
and reduce emissions generated by aircraft flying in and
out of airports in the Atlanta and Charlotte, North
"The Federal Aviation Administration and aviation
industry are teaming up to make some of the busiest
airspace in the world also the most efficient," Huerta
said. "The end result for travelers will be fewer
delays, quicker flights and an even safer, greener
As part of the FAA's NextGen modernization program, the Metroplex initiative which includes the optimization of airspace procedures in the metroplex will improve the flow of air traffic into and out of all airports in the Atlanta and Charlotte metropolitan areas.
metroplex is a region with several airports serving major
metropolitan areas where heavy airport activity and
environmental constraints combine to hinder the efficient
movement of air traffic. Metroplex initiatives are underway or
planned in 21 metropolitan areas across the country.
Metroplex initiative is based on satellite navigation, which the
FAA calls Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), also a key
component of NextGen. PBN enables pilots to fly aircraft using
radar or satellite coverage, or by utilizing the on-board flight
management system. PBN allows shorter, more direct routes that
reduce flight time and fuel consumption, and result in fewer
committed to working with key stakeholders to design and
implement efficient procedures that benefit our customers and
the communities surrounding the Atlanta Metroplex," said Steve
Dickson, Delta Senior Vice President-Flight Operations. Delta
applauds efforts that through technology allow us to reduce our
environmental impact setting the stage for the evolution to
estimates that 1.2 million fewer nautical miles will be flown in
and out of Atlanta, based on current flight plan miles filed.
This equates to 2.9 million fewer gallons of fuel used and a
reduction in carbon emissions by 30,000 metric tons. For
Charlotte, an estimated 2.5 million fewer nautical miles will be
flown annually, based on current flight plan miles filed. 3.7
million gallons of fuel will be saved, with reduced carbon
emissions by 35,000 metric tons annually.
"US Airways is
committed to continually evaluating the ways we do business and how our
business impacts the environment and the communities we serve," said
Robert Isom, US Airways' Chief Operating Officer.
airspace at our largest hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport,
where we operate more than 630 flights each day, will help us reduce our
carbon emissions by up to 59,000 metric tons each year and save up to
$17 million annually on fuel costs."
this collaborative, regional partnership includes the FAA, the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, and
Atlanta and Charlotte-area airports.
fortunate to have such a strong team working on the Metroplex project.
Through collaboration with management, NATCA and industry, ?said Jeffrey
D. Russell, National Air Traffic Controllers Association lead
representative on the team. ?I expect our team to deliver a phenomenal
product to the users of the airspace system and air travelers, who will
benefit greatly from these efforts to make our system even safer and
The Metroplex work
teams will explore and develop strategies to streamline airspace over
Atlanta and Charlotte to help reduce airspace complexity for air traffic
controllers and flight crews. The strategies include:
high-altitude flight tracks for Atlanta departures and Charlotte
arrivals to allow aircraft to climb and descend without leveling off.
Optimized Profile Descent (OPD) procedures into Atlanta and Charlotte
airports. OPDs allow pilots to almost idle the engines while the
aircraft descends, using the on-board Flight Management System to fly a
continuous, descending path without leveling off. OPDs reduce fuel
consumption, carbon emissions and noise .
tracks by making them more direct.
Designing new satellite-based procedures for Atlanta reliever airports with air traffic control towers, which are DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Gwinnett County Airport/Briscoe Field, Fulton County Airport and Cobb County Airport/McCollum Field.
flight tracks for flights arriving at Atlanta reliever airports, to
separate them from flights to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International
that will enable general aviation traffic to fly across the Atlanta and
Charlotte metro areas while remaining clear of controlled airspace.
satellite-based procedures for air carrier airports near Charlotte,
including Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Greenville-
Spartanburg and Columbia, S.C.
Raising the ceiling of airspace handled by the FAA Terminal Radar Approach control at Charlotte Douglas International Airport to 16,000 feet from 14,000 feet to facilitate OPDs.
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