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'Green' flight demonstrates sustainability progress

Jul 03, 2016

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) says United Airlines’ inaugural San Francisco to Auckland flight which touched down at Auckland Airport this morning demonstrates the great leaps being made towards a more sustainable aviation industry.

ASPIRE is a partnership of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and airlines from the Asia Pacific region which have been working since 2008 to develop flight procedures and standards which limit fuel burn and carbon emissions. These encompass all phases of flight from gate-to-gate, delivering environmental best practice at every stage.

During the inaugural flight, United Airlines utilised ASPIRE best practices including user preferred route and dynamic airborne re-route procedures. These procedures allowed the aircraft to follow a flexible fuel efficient flight path that could be changed at various stages to take advantage of favourable winds. Air traffic controllers on the ground in San Francisco and Auckland managed the flight's arrival and departure to ensure optimal efficiency at this stage.

ASPIRE Chair and Airways New Zealand Head of Auckland Operations Tim Boyle says the flight is a great indicator of the advancements made in the last decade towards more sustainable air travel.

United operated a 787-800 aircraft for the service.

"Due to technological advances and aircraft improvements, United’s CO2 emissions per passenger on flights to Auckland will be reduced by more than 20% versus when United previously flew to the country in 2003,” Mr Boyle says. “During that same time period, air traffic organisations have modernised their capabilities to allow airlines to gain the maximum advantage from their modern fleets.”

United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton says: “We understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, even as we expand our global network. Working with ASPIRE is just one way we’re demonstrating our environmental leadership within the industry.”

Asia Pacific is experiencing unprecedented levels of air traffic growth. By 2030, air traffic movements are expected to double within the region and enabling this growth in a sustainable way is a significant challenge for the aviation industry as a whole, Mr Boyle says.

“ASPIRE is a tangible example of the committed approach from aircraft manufacturers, airlines and ANSPs to manage the environmental outcomes of growth and ensure the sustainability of air travel," he says.

Data and metrics from today’s flight will be assessed to establish its overall efficiency.

“United is one of the founding airline partners of ASPIRE and it is really pleasing that the airline has chosen to make its inaugural service to Auckland an ASPIRE demonstration flight.” Mr Boyle says

'Green' flight demonstrates sustainability progress

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