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Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases

Final Report Summary - CARING (Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases)


Executive Summary:

Project CARING (Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases) is a two-year project (2010-2011) led by a consortium of 9 members including flight ops specialists, environmental specialists, air transport economists and airlines.

The goal of the project was:

- To better understand actual trajectories flown by airlines in real conditions, and to assess their impact on the environment
- To better understand environmental regulations for the air transport and their impact on the airlines
- To build an economic model of the airlines and the environment

The project studied FDR data from several thousand flights from 6 different airlines operating 9 different aircraft types. The analysis allowed to understand the differences between trajectories, the explaining variables and constraints for trajectory choices and how aircraft trajectories and standard operating procedures could be improved to reduce the environmental constraints while remaining compatible with the real-world environment of the flights (ATC, weather, operations).

After studying all environmental constraints (noise and emissions) worldwide and explaining their mechanism and financial impact on airline, the consortium surveyed 100s of airlines about the way they tend to adapt to these new constraints.

The consortium developed several scenarios for the evolution of the regulatory framework and economic conditions.

In addition to environmental costs, the consortium studied the other sources of costs of airlines (all direct operating costs) to put them in perspective and better understand how airlines would balance environmental costs with other costs.

Finally, these studies served as input to the development of a global economic model that shows how airlines react to environmental constraints (an in particular EU-ETS) in a monopoly, duopoly and pure competition environment.

These economic models were played against the above mentioned scenarios to project how a sample airline would benefit or not from the environmental constraints in a competitive environment depending on the fleet it operates and of its environmental efficiency.

The model showed that green aircraft give a competitive advantage to airlines while at the same time having a beneficial effect on the environment.

Project Context and Objectives:

Project CARING (Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases) aims at better understanding how airlines deal with the environmental constraints, currently and in the future.

CARING pursues three main objectives in line with Clean Sky's Systems for Green Operations ITD:

- Gather trajectory data from actual flights. These trajectory data will be used in Clean Sky's simulator to evaluate their environmental impact and will be compared with future optimal trajectories permitted by the progress of the Clean Sky programme.
- Understand the current and future environmental constraints and the basis for taxations, emission permits, etc.
- Model how airlines deal with the environmental constraints, and how it affects their economics, their operations and their strategy.

To be comprehensive, the CARING study covers several models of airlines: regional, low-cost, charter and long-haul.

For trajectory data, environmental specialists will work with airlines to record FDR data on a variety of routes (congested airports, secondary airports, medium haul, long haul), aircrafts (turboprops, single aisles, long range) and approaches (regular, CDA) that are relevant for an environmental study. Trajectory data will then be analyzed and synthesized for use within the Clean Sky simulator.

For environmental constraints, the consortium will conduct a survey of existing and potential future international rules.

At last, an economic modelling will be developed based on the previous surveys and an analysis of the other costs within an airline (crew, delays, missed connections, etc.). This economic business model will help understand how the environmental constraints might affect future airline strategies, fleet and network decisions.

The consortium involves 9 airlines as well as airline environmental specialists, airline operations & costs specialists and air transport economists.

Project Results:

WP3: Trajectory data

The selection of routes went quickly as schedule but the availability of data became an issue during the summer as it proved longer than expected to process the data within airlines (in particular due to the necessity to anonymize all date because of safety and union issues). Data became available at the end of the summer with a couple of months of delay.

Also, data from the regional airline (Airlinair) proved disappointing as the data recorded on the QAR for the ATR-42 and ATR-72 is poor and limited in terms of fuel flow information.

The IT development work to process efficiently this huge amount of data had been underestimated. It required heavy investment with consecutive delays so that we were able to process them full speed only at the beginning of Fall 2010. However, a very rich set of tool has been developed that allowed to interpret the data in many ways and to be very detailed in the interpretation of the phenomena.

The analysis of the date proved much longer than expected and WP3 will largely exceed the estimated workload, as more data analysis leads to more needs for investigations and explanations (It will span in 2011 and will probably more than double the expected manpower devoted to the task).

However, by the end of 2010, we managed to have a very thorough analysis of all the date we got, in all phases of flights.

In 2011, the flight trajectory analysis was completed with mainly:

- Detailed study of the fuel saving best practices (CDA, reduced acceleration altitude, flap usage, single engine taxi...).
- Comparison of actual flown trajectories and flight data with forecast from the OFP (Operational Flight Plan)
- Detailed interviews with the airlines: pilots, chief pilots, flight safety officers and flight ops personnel. This allowed better interpreting the flight data and understand the actual constraints met by the aircraft operator in a real commercial and ATC constrained environment. This showed that progress in the ATM field are necessary to fully optimize flight trajectory. As a consequence, the liaison with SESAR should probably be strengthened.
- Extension of data analysis to Swiss Intl airline, with thousand of new flights recorded. This allowed extending our FDR data set to new aircraft types, and in particular the Airbus single-aisle fleet (A319-320-321) and the Airbus A330 fleet (A330-200 and A330-300).

This also extended our study to a new airline business model: the one of a major network airline with hub and spoke operations.

- Generation of sample data files representative of different types of flight. These sample flights were generated in raw and neutral engineering format so as to be reused in future Clean Sky research and act as a benchmark for trajectory optimization.

In addition the software tooling to interpret flight data was improved with the new studies and new data source imports.

At the end, this task was highly successful scientifically with very interesting and detailed foregrounds that include:

- A report on aircraft trajectory dispersion on all phases of flights on various models of airlines, flights and aircraft
- A report on the application of fuel an environment preservation best practices in actual flight conditions (commercial exploitation of the aircraft, pilots in condition, ATM and weather constrained environment)
- A selection of representative sample flights with all their parameters. These flights will be used to develop new FMS systems with advanced trajectory management.
- A set of software code to analyze FDR data for environmental purposes.

WP4: Current and future environmental constraints

WP4 went smoothly and as expected due to the good knowledge of partners in charge of this workpackage.

The most uncertain part of this work (forecasting future tendencies) was addressed by interviewing many stakeholders (ICAO, FNAM,...) and monitoring CAEP works, and by building synthetic scenarios of possible futures (positive/negative economic environment, weak/strong political commitment).

At the end of this work package, the following foregrounds have been developed:

- Survey all existing emissions environmental constraints worldwide and describe their mechanism and financial impact on airlines
- Survey all existing noise environmental constraints worldwide and describe their mechanism and financial impact on airlines
- Survey tendencies on environmental constraints for emissions and forecast scenario of constraints evolutions for the next 20 years
- Survey tendencies on environmental constraints for noise and forecast scenario of constraints evolutions for the next 20 years

WP5: Airlines operations and costs

WP5 addressed two objectives: understand non-environmental as well as environmental costs of airlines and their strategies to adapt.

Concerning non environmental costs, an important work was carried to process public data from the US DOT, with statistical analysis and business intelligence. This led to a clear understanding of airline costs and their evolution but somehow tinted with a US point of view. The report attempted to give a wider view when possible (for example on crew costs, and differences between business models), but with some limitations due to the lack of public data on the other regions of the world.

Concerning environmental costs, the study was split into two parts: a desk-study with legislation analysis and simulation of economic impact on airlines based on the regulations mechanism, market data (e.g. CO2 market) and airline data (airline schedules, operating aircraft types, OAG and SSIM data). This allowed drawing interesting and objective conclusion.

In complement to this work, an ambitious survey was sent to more than 100 airlines and followed by heavy work calling airlines to get as much responses as possible. This led to about ~30 airlines responding which is a fair number considering the complexity of the survey and the natural tendency of airlines not to participate to these kinds of research, by lack of time or reluctance to release information.

In general, WP5 results were in line with what was expected, except maybe in the feeding of numerical data that could be easily used to tune the economic model of WP6.

At the end of this work package, the following foregrounds have been developed:

- Survey non-environmental costs of airlines, understand their importance, variation and differences between various types of airlines (regional, low-cost, charter and network), and between geographical zones.
- Survey environmental costs of airlines, their impact on airline economics and strategies, and their practices to mitigate them.

WP6: Economic modelling

In 2010, WP6 work focused on the delivery on a first basic economic model that would show the impact of environmental constraints on airline economics in a non competitive environment (to be completed by a model of a competitive environment in 2011).

After preliminary analysis permitted by the results of WP4 an WP5, it was decided that the economic model should focus primarily on emissions regulation (in particular ETS) as it is the only one that has a clear and important impact on economics.

This model was built and allowed to perceive that the influence of the regulation could be positive or negative to an airline, based precisely on its environmental performance, and especially on the technology of its fleet.

This is an interesting conclusion as it builds a case for a sound environmental regulation as well as for technical progress allowed by projects like Clean Sky.

In 2011, WP6 continued the work started in WP11 on the economic model. In particular, advanced economic models were developed that put into equation the behaviour of airline economics in reaction to changes in the environmental regulatory context and to changes in airline greenness efficiency.

The advanced economic models address the case of airline monopoly, duopoly and pure competition. The models were calibrated against real data. This was a complicated part as little data was available. This is probably to date the weakest part of the research.

The models were used against the scenarios described in WP4.2 of possible evolution of the environmental regulatory framework or of the air transport economic conditions up to the 2020 scope.

The application of the models on the scenario show how an aircraft’s positioning in term of environmental friendliness can give a competitive advantage to an airline compared to a competitor operating less environmental friendly aircraft types.

This justify the European investment in aircraft environmental research (such as Clean Sky) and will allow the aircraft and equipment manufacturers to build a business case that shows to their customers that the new “green” functions also have an economic value.

At the end of this work package, the following foregrounds have been developed:

- Advanced economic models that put into equation the behaviour of airline economics in reaction to changes in the environmental regulatory context and to changes in airline greenness efficiency.

The different models model airline reactions to environmental regulations (in particular EU-ETS) in a monopoly environment, duopoly environment and pure competition environment.

- Simulations that illustrate the impact of environmental regulations on sample airlines in the different scenarios described in WP4.2 on the possible evolution of the regulatory framework and international economic conditions.

Potential Impact:

WP3: Trajectory data

The dispersion analysis and sample flights will be used by other Clean Sky projects within the SGO-ITD’s MTM (Management of Trajectory Mission). The dispersion analysis allows understanding which trajectories are actually flyable in a real ATC and weather constrained environment and how airlines and pilots proceed with their choices. This will be taken into account in the development of future FMS systems with green functions.

The chosen sample flights will be used as benchmarks for the development of the new trajectory optimization algorithms.

The development of more environmental friendly trajectory optimization algorithms and their implementation in future FMS should improve the fuel consumption and CO2 footprints of flights of several % in the take-off, climb, descent and final approach phases, whilst at the same time reducing the noise footprint on the ground. In the cruise phase, more limited impacts are expected.

The first demonstrator for this new trajectory optimization is expected in the 2014 timeframe.

The FDR analysis work led to software components and data mining algorithms development. This research work will be leveraged by OpenAirlines to develop and commercialize a Fuel Preservation Software solution. This solution is expected to be ready in 2013 and should allow airlines to save an average of 2% on their fuel consumption and CO2 footprint. This solution is expected to develop the business of OpenAirlines and its number of employees.

In the very short term, the results of the flight trajectory analysis have been shared with the participating airlines which have discovered fuel saving potential that could be put in practice quickly. The participating airlines expect to reduce their fuel consumption and environmental footprint by 2% just by modifying their operational procedures.

WP4: Current and future environmental constraints

The reports developed in this work package will have an indirect impact by their contribution to work package 6.

They will also define the environmental benefits that lead to airline cost reductions and that must be implemented in priority to the new generation FMS built after WP3.

WP5: Airlines operations and costs

The reports developed in this work package will have an indirect impact by their contribution to work package 6.

They will also define the environmental benefits that lead to airline cost reductions and that must be implemented in priority to the new generation FMS built after WP3.

WP6: Economic modelling

The economic model developed by ENAC can have the following applications:

- Build the business case for environmental friendly features of new aircraft and avionics. This business case will show to airlines that their best interest, from a sheer economics point of view, is to adopt green aircraft in their fleet. This will facilitate the adoption of green technology and thus will allow attaining the ecological benefits (in CO2, other green house gases emissions and noise reductions) without preventing the development of the air travel industry with all its economical, social and cultural benefits.
- Help the legislator assess beforehand the efficiency of their regulations, as this model can simulate how airlines will adopt their operations and thus how the emissions and their environmental efficiency will be improved.

List of Websites:

www.caring.aero

Contact:

Alexandre Feray
alexandre.feray@openairlines.com
Tel: +33 5 31 61 52 10