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NAV CANADA and partners complete green project

Oct. 20, 2014, Ottawa - An efficiency initiative led by NAV CANADA has successfully demonstrated the viability and safety of aircraft varying speeds (Mach) and altitudes while transiting the unsurveilled airspace over the North Atlantic (NAT).


October 20, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

The project, titled ENGAGE II, was conducted in partnership with Air France and in conjunction with NATS, the United Kingdom’s principal air navigation service provider.

ENGAGE II was undertaken and supported by The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) as part of its Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) Program. The project was designed to promote the sustainable implementation and expand the scope of the concepts trailed during the first phase (ENGAGE I) completed in 2011. In addition to project partner Air France, four other international carriers – KLM, British Airways, United and Delta – participated in phase two.

“The 210 flight trials in ENGAGE II were all carried out in a safe and efficient manner,” said Larry Lachance, NAV CANADA Vice President, Operations. “While validating the overall safety of varying oceanic flight profiles, we were able to replicate the fuel savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions achieved in ENGAGE I. Moreover we were able to demonstrate the viability of a wider implementation of these procedures and offering increased flexibility in the NAT airspace.

“The fuel and emissions savings per flight averaged between one and two per cent, which translates to a reduction of 200 to 400 litres of fuel and 525 to 1,050 kilograms of GHG emissions. With close to 400,000 flights each year, the potential economic and environmental benefits are substantial,” added Lachance.

ENGAGE II is paving the way for significant changes to operations in the NAT. At the June 2014 meeting in Paris of the North Atlantic Systems Planning Group – a body established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – the group endorsed a Proposal for Amendment to the NAT Regional Supplementary Procedures that would allow some aircraft to fly at variable speeds. The proposal to remove the requirement for “fixed Mach” was made by Iceland, which provides air traffic services for a portion of the NAT from Reykjavik. The proposed amendment will now proceed to ICAO for formal processing and documentation.

“The ENGAGE projects were excellent examples of collaboration between air navigation service providers and airlines to reduce the aviation industry’s environmental footprint,” said Lachance. “We look forward to further advances in technology that will have still greater impacts on flight efficiencies in the NAT and across the globe.”