FAA To Increase
Efficiency Reduce Aircraft Emissions In Northern California
By Shane Nolan
March 20, 2012 - Acting Federal Aviation Administrator
Michael Huerta and aviation partners on Monday 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 into and out of Northern California airports.
"By working together, the FAA and our aviation partners
are improving flying for the general public, airlines
and the country's economy," said U.S. Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood. "Designing an aviation system for
the 21st century is a crucial component of an economy
built to last."
"The Federal Aviation Administration and members of the aviation industry are teaming up to create satellite-based arrival and departure routes that will make some of the most complex airspace in the country some of the most efficient," Huerta said.
"Implementing these NextGen procedures will result in more
direct flight routes, fewer delays and an even safer, greener
Metroplex initiative is based on satellite navigation, or
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), which is a key component of
NextGen. PBN enables pilots to fly aircraft using radar or
satellite coverage, or by using the on-board flight management
system. PBN allows shorter, more direct routes that reduce
flight time and fuel consumption, and result in fewer carbon
estimates that 1.5 million fewer nautical miles will be flown
into and out of Northern California annually, based on current
flight plan miles filed. This equates to 2.3 million fewer
gallons of fuel used and a reduction in carbon emissions of
23,000 metric tons.
"The Bay Area is fortunate to have such a strong, effective team working on the Metroplex project. The collaboration between management, NATCA and the industry has been outstanding," said Steve Hefley, NATCA's lead local representative on the team. "We plan to deliver on our promise. Air travelers will benefit greatly from an even safer and more efficient system."
Airlines is committed to the design and implementation of safe and
efficient flight procedures that benefit the traveling public and the
communities surrounding the Northern California Metroplex," said
Southwest Airlines Captain David Newton, the carrier's senior manager
for NextGen and airspace.
The Metroplex work
teams will explore and develop strategies to streamline airspace over
Northern California to help reduce airspace complexity for air traffic
controllers and flight crews. The strategies include:
Profile Descent (OPD) procedures into San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose
and Sacramento. OPDs allow pilots to almost idle the engines while the
aircraft descends so they glide down without leveling off, like sliding
down a bannister. OPDs reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and
arrival flows into San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento to
reduce congestion. This will also shorten the route into San Jose.
satellite-based departure procedures at San Francisco, Oakland and San
Jose. These procedures are expected to provide predictable, repeatable
paths and optimize aircraft ascents, thus reducing the need to level
tracks by making them more direct.
Designing a new,
high-altitude route that skirts the northern boundary of the military
airspace around the Edwards Range Complex. Commercial aircraft will be
able to use this procedure when an air route through the complex is
frequently unavailable due to military activity.
high-altitude holding area east of San Francisco that controllers can
use when bad weather reduces the airport's arrival rate. This would
create more predictability for air traffic controllers and pilots and
allow aircraft to hold at higher altitudes where they burn less fuel.
Building a new
route that Los Angeles-bound aircraft could start using when they are
still offshore in Oakland Center's high altitude airspace. The route
could allow aircraft to remain longer at higher altitudes, where they
burn less fuel, and could provide OPD-like benefits for much of the
International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration are
aligned in our mutual goals of on-time operations, environmental
leadership and embracing technology for improved performance," said
Deborah Ale Flint, Director of Aviation for the Port of Oakland. "We are
committed to being a part of the regional approach to optimizing air
space in Northern California, an outcome that will create more direct
routing, and reduce delays, fuel burn and emissions using NextGen,
implementation of NextGen is a 'win-win-win' for airports, the airlines,
and the air traveler," said San Francisco International Airport Director
John L. Martin. "With more efficient routing, congestion at airports is
relieved, airlines run more efficiently and burn less fuel, and
passengers can look forward to more options when they travel."
"Mineta San Jose International Airport looks forward to participating in this project," said Bill Sherry, Director of Aviation for the City of San Jose. "The implementation of NextGen will significantly benefit the travelers and residents of Northern California by reducing overall congestion and delays at the Bay Area airports."
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