Plane Landings to Cut CO2

Aug. 11, 2009
The new technique, which involves planes gliding could save around 220 pounds of fuel in a twin-engined jet.

Aviation group Scandinavian Airlines System said on August 10 it had designed a new landing method for aircraft, which could slash fuel consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide.

The new technique, which involves planes gliding into land following an optimum route mapped out by satellite, could save around 220 pounds of fuel in a twin-engined jet, the group said.

That is the equivalent of around 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when the fuel is burnt, the company said.

"We win on two levels," said Thomas Midteide, spokesman for SAS Norway, the Norwegian airline run by the group. "On one hand, we save fuel, on the other, we reduce our emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide)."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body which assesses climate change, says air transport produces 2% of all carbon dioxide emissions from humans and 13% of CO2 from transport.

The new landing method sees an aircraft's engines put into neutral as it comes into land, letting the plane glide in automatic following a route mapped out for it by satellite. Just before the craft lands, the pilot takes up the controls again.

The traditional method sees pilots manually control the craft as it descends in stages over a large area, which gobbles a huge amount of fuel.

If the idea is approved by civil aviation authorities, it could be introduced to airlines run by the Scandinavian group.

The group believes the method would be best suited to quieter airports which are surrounded by hills or mountains.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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