Europe

airBaltic first in Europe to start green flying

Aviation Tribune

Latvian national airline airBaltic together with its consortium partners Quovadis and Latvijas Gaisa Satiksme launched a new project under the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) to operate Europe’s first green flights for turboprop aircraft.

The AMBER project will establish new arrival procedures for Riga Airport that will shorten the distances flown, improve flight trajectories to avoid residential areas and reduce people’s exposure to noise, as well as cut fuel consumption and emissions.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “We are delighted to take a lead and introduce satellite-based approach procedures at Riga Airport for our state-of-the art Bombardier Q400 Next Gen turboprop aircraft and thus practice greener flying. Our partners are key in this project – Quovadis, LGS, Latvian Civil Aviation Agency, and Riga airport.”

The main objective of the AMBER (Arrival Modernization for Better Efficiency in Riga) project is to introduce new arrival procedures at Riga International Airport, to reduce CO2 emissions and noise levels at the airport and close vicinity, especially the touristic Jurmala area located on the coastline of Latvia, north west of the airport. The new trajectory will be up to 30 nautical miles shorter towards runway than what is being flown today, and will enable reducing CO2 emissions by up to 300 kg on every Q400 flight.

“The new green procedures that will be established and validated with the Bombardier Q400 Next Gen turboprops will eventually be available to any carrier flying to Riga with the relevant aircraft equipment. The procedures will also be suitable for our brand new Bombardier CSeries jets, which we will introduce into service in 2015, and will provide further benefits for operations out of Riga, on top of their unmatched fuel efficiency”, states Capt. Pauls Calitis, Vice President Flight Operations of airBaltic.

Initial design and simulator testing phase in the AMBER project will be carried out until spring 2013. Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers will be specifically trained on realistic simulators for the new procedures. A target of 100 flight trials will be carried out, over the summer period of 2013, and the CO2 savings will be analysed and published as a baseline for green turboprop operations.

The AMBER project is implemented by airBaltic in partnership with QUOVADIS (an Airbus subsidiary specialized in modern flight operations solutions) and Latvia’s Air Navigation Service Provider LGS and sponsored by SESAR, the air traffic management research programme of the Singe European Sky. With this project, SESAR will be able to demonstrate that the entire commercial aviation community, including regional aircraft, can change and reduce its impact on the environment.

airBaltic serves 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East.

Detailed information

The AMBER project is one the SESAR-sponsored projects introducing innovative initiatives to demonstrate the sustainability of the aviation industry, and achieving environmental benefits with improved and tailored ATM procedures.

The main objective of the AMBER (Arrival Modernization for Better Efficiency in Riga) project is to introduce PBN arrival procedures at Riga International Airport, to reduce CO2 emissions and noise levels at the airport and close vicinity, especially in the touristic Jurmala area located on the coastline of Latvia, north west of the airport. This project will be achieved by demonstrating green flights using the Bombardier Q400, a first in Europe with a regional aircraft flying PBN procedures. The main routes flown by Air Baltic’s Q400 fleet (such as Vilnius-Riga or Warsaw-Riga) will be used as a benchmark for comparison of the CO2 emissions. Introducing PBN for Riga arrivals will enable to avoid flying over the touristic Jurmala area and, instead of flying a long radar vectored path over the Baltic Sea, will go directly to the runway by using the flexibility of a Radius-to-Fix (RF) leg and fully-guided procedures flown using the aircraft’s autopilot, thus reducing the flight crew’s workload in the approach phase of flight.

The new trajectory will be up to 30NM shorter than what is being flown today. The PBN approaches will also allow for Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) from the cruise to the final approach, thus further optimizing the efficiency of the operation compared to today’s procedures.

These procedures will also be designed to be used by common jetliners such as Airbus and Boeing aircraft to ensure that, in the long run, any operator flying to Riga with the required aircraft equipment, will be able to benefit from these enhanced arrivals. The procedures will also be suitable for the brand new Bombardier C-Series aircraft that Air Baltic will operate from 2015.

The AMBER project’s Kick-Off Meeting was held on October 4 in Riga with all the stakeholders present. Having on board the Air Navigation Service Provider, the Airline, the ATC, the Aviation Regulator and the airport authority is the best approach to really deliver performance improvement to the Air traffic Management.

Performance-Based approach is a key element to support the decongestion of the busy terminal areas and increase the Air Traffic Management fuel efficiency in Europe.

Initial design and simulator testing phase will be carried until Spring 2013. Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers will specifically be trained on realistic simulators for the new procedures. A target of 100 flight trials will be carried out, over the summer period of 2013, and the CO2 savings will be analyzed and published as a baseline for PBN & CDO implementation for turboprop operations.


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