Skyguide is taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of air traffic by implementing better procedures such as XStream, XMAN, improved vertical flight profiles, direct routes and continuous descent operations.
iStream at Zurich Airport, for instance, aims at assigning a precise slot to each aircraft to avoid queuing at the arrival route entries just before the end of the night flying restrictions, thus reducing noise, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Skyguide’s xStream procedure is to be introduced at 24 European airports by 2024. The company was presented with the international Air Traffic Management Award for the project in 2019.
In the same vein, XMAN (extended arrival management) isoptimising the arrival flow and cutting the aircraft’s holding time at airports by adapting their cruising speed while still in the airspace of adjacent control centres. By 2023, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 33.5 kT per year is projected.
But the energy efficiency of an aircraft depends also on its cruising altitude. By improving vertical flight profiles, it is possible to optimise its energy efficiency. Thus, an additional 7.8 GWh per year could be saved through an adaptation of procedures.
Flying more directly also enables fuel savings and, in turn, reduces CO2 emissions and airspace users’ costs. In 2017, 63 direct routes were implemented in the airspace controlled by skyguide.
Finally, continuous descent operations allow aircraft to almost “glide” down to the runway. Traditionally, flights descended from cruising altitude to landing in several steps when approaching the airport. Continuous descent into Zurich and Geneva will result in energy savings of 133 GWh per year.