Airbus, Air France and DSNA, the French Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), have begun working towards the development of "most energy efficient flights", following their inaugural demonstration flight from Paris to Toulouse Blagnac on Air France Flight AF7518 on 21st September.

The Air France A320 flight flew on an optimized trajectory with continuous climb and descent operation, marking the first of a series of trials planned during 2021 and 2022 within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) “ALBATROSS” project.

The optimized flight has reduced CO2 emissions by 5% according to captain Laurent Fontainm, as stated in the Airbus Summit in Toulouse.

ALBATROSS Project

Launched in February 2021, ALBATROSS is a large-scale initiative of major European aviation stakeholder groups led by Airbus.

It aims to demonstrate, through a series of gate-to-gate live demonstration flights across Europe, the feasibility of implementing most energy-efficient flights in the short term, by combining several R&D technical and operational innovations.

“ALBATROSS” follows an holistic approach by covering all flight phases, directly involving all relevant stakeholder groups (such as airlines, ANSPs, network managers, airports and industry) and addressing both operational and technological aspects of aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM).

Many solutions will be put into practice during the flight demonstrations,

  • New precision approach procedures to continuous climb and descent
  • A more dynamic management of necessary airspace constraints
  • Sustainable taxiing
  • Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage

Several novel data analytics-based tools will be also introduced to assist pilots to identify tactical in-flight trajectory optimization opportunities to improve fuel efficiency. Possibilities to mitigate certain Air Traffic Management constraints through airspace design by collaborative procedures and a certain degree of flexibility in the constraints will be tested as well. Moreover, a sustainable hybrid towing vehicle ("TaxiBot") allowing taxi assistance without engines running will be used in order to reduce emissions on ground. 

Starting from September 2021, these live trials will involve around 1,000 demonstration flights; showcasing mature operational solutions with potential fuel and CO2 emission savings. The first results are expected to be available in 2022.

The ALBATROSS partners are Airbus, Air France, Austro Control, DLR, DSNA, Eurocontrol, LFV, Lufthansa, Novair, Schiphol, Smart Airport Systems, SWEDAVIA, SWISS, Thales AVS France and WIZZ AIR UK.