The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis caused a major economic shock to the aviation industry. Governments and institutions intervened to support manufacturers, airlines, airports and ANSPs. This crisis has reinforced the sector’s willingness to invest and develop green technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.

The European aviation sector is committed to achieving zero CO2 emissions by 2050 for all flights within and from the EU, following the Green Deal and the Paris Agreements. This, requires joint and coordinated efforts from all industry stakeholders and public authorities.

Improving air traffic management and aircraft operations is a major challenge for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the short and medium term. Numerous initiatives and projects are being deployed, driven by the European Commission, the SESAR programme, Clean Sky and soon Horizon Europe.

European Green initiatives for sustainable aviation

Under the SESAR programme, a number of Research and Innovation solutions are in progress concerning green aviation policy from ground to upper airspace. These projects are carried out under Horizon Europe funding and will continue under the future Horizon Europe programme launched in April. The European Commission has set up a target of 10% reduction of environmental footprint per flight by promoting direct flights and improving trajectories.

New SESAR 2020 R&I projects started in early 2021. A major one is the ADSCENCIO project. In 2022, it will experiment in Paris ACC the use of 4D trajectories transmitted by aircraft already equipped with new avionics. This knowledge of the optimal 4D trajectory will facilitate the management of greener 4D trajectories En Route and in the terminal area.

Finally, a new European ATM partnership is being built to succeed SESAR JU. In line with the main European guidelines, this programme will focus on decarbonisation and digitalisation. Its work programme was defined during the summer 2020 with the contribution of ENAV and DSNA. It includes a significant environmental component to accelerate the decarbonisation process in SESAR trajectory management concepts and to introduce new initiatives at European level such as formation flying.

CCS contributes to European environmental objectives

Coflight Cloud Services aims to use its technological advance developed by industrial leaders, Thales and Leonardo on Coflight, to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation sector. CCS is actively working with the Department of the Environment in order to continue to limit the aviation environmental footprint for the sky of tomorrow.

Coflight contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions at two levels. Firstly, through the optimisation of trajectory prediction and secondly, with the use of data shared by the various ANSPs.

Coflight continuously computes a volume of trajectory prediction, and consequently offers opportunities for 4D trajectory optimisation:

  • Based on airspace users desired trajectory and taking into account aircraft performance data with economic mode, the trajectory computed is close to realistic and greener aircraft trajectories (continuous climb and descent, taking into account users optimised top of climb and top of descent…).
  • Airspace users can plan greener flights, with 4D planned trajectory considering evolution of conditions along the flight (winds, planned military activity), thanks to Coflight management of multiple requested flight levels.
  • Coflight facilitates management of free route : by allowing companies to file any kind of trajectory regardless of fixed airspace structures, with a focus on more economic and environmental friendly trajectories and ensuring proper flight plan data distribution even in non-standard conditions (unusual planned trajectories, complex conflict situations involving multiple ATC sectors and/or military areas… ).

Thanks to CCS, several ANSPs can share the same Flight Data Plan, which is key to have a common situation awareness and facilitate collaborative decision making (offering greater opportunities for optimisation of trajectories):

  • Coflight Trajectory Prediction takes into account strategical constraints from ANSPs. These profile-tuning restrictions are designed to reduce complexity on ATC sectors and especially the transfer conditions across ANSPs, where optimisation of trajectory can cause heavy coordination workload. Sharing the same FDPs will facilitate the coordination across ANSPs, and with other partners, with richer automated negotiation mechanisms and more accurate trajectory prediction. Common situation awareness will be established with anticipation across ANSPs, thus reducing the need for profile tuning restrictions.
  • As the global picture of companies’ expectations and ANSPs constraints will be shared with more reliability and anticipated accuracy, it will be easier between CCS customers and providers to build coordinate finer ATFCM measures (STAMs, impacting individual flights rather than whole traffic flows, taking into account aircraft performance and companies’ business needs).

CCS is fully committed to reducing the environmental footprint of aviation by investing in innovative technologies and solutions to enable the sector to be more green and sustainable.