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Advanced Continuous Descent Approach “Green Approach” for Boeing 737

The “Advanced Continuous Descent Approach” (A-CDA), also known as the “Green Approach” is allowing Boeing 737s in Europe to use a new landing approach that reduces fuel consumption, which in turn reduces the amount of CO2 and NOx emission by approximately 20%.

The Green Approach is the result of GE Aviation’s Systems participation in Europe’s NUP2+ project, in which select 737 aircraft in Sweden were allowed to employ GE’s Flight Management System (FMS) to fly the aircraft at idle thrust from cruise through landing. The FMS’ reliable performance and predictability gave Air Traffic Management authorities the confidence they needed to approve the new approach in Europe for 737s equipped with GE’s FMS.

“Our FMS on Boeing 737s is another example of how committed we are to developing technology solutions that not only benefit customers, but are also kind to the environment,” said Dr. John Ferrie, President, Systems for GE Aviation. “Given the issues we face with growing air traffic congestion and increasing green house gases worldwide, the appropriate use of FMS to help remedy the situation is a clear and valuable option.”

The FMS for the 737 features a precise, 4-dimensional trajectory downlink for use by ATC to manage traffic flow using precision positioning and time guidance, known as Required Time of Arrival (RTA), to the runway threshold. Combined, these features enable the creation of flight profiles that are optimal for operators as well as the environment – increasing ATM efficiency, providing fuel savings, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions. Sounds good to me.

The Green Approach is a standard feature of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) operations into Stockholm, where, in more than 1,300 Green Approaches, SAS has recorded an average fuel savings of 186 kg, a CO2 reduction of 315 kg, and an NOx reduction of 0.011 kg per arrival. SAS estimates that annual benefits for their flights could reach $6 million in fuel savings with an additional $6 million in cost avoidance due to the increased efficiency and punctuality of aircraft using GE’s FMS. SAS expects the Green Approach to achieve annual emission reductions of up to 23,000 Metric Tons of CO2 and 79 Metric Tons of NOx; comparable to the yearly emissions of 5,100 automobiles.

Green approaches also deliver measurable noise reduction for the surrounding communities. As a result, SAS and the Swedish government have agreed to expand the Green Approaches to the other busier airports in Sweden, and plans are being discussed with more airlines and ATM authorities to allow its use during city-pair operations between Stockholm and aerodromes within core-Europe.

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