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United Teams with FAA to Save Fuel, Aid Environment


11 Fuel Reduction Initiatives Create Substantial Carbon Emissions Savings

CHICAGO.– United Airlines will become the first U.S. carrier to demonstrate how next-generation technologies could save more than two thousand gallons of fuel and cut up to 55,000 pounds of carbon emissions on a single, trans-Pacific flight.

As part of the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE), United flight 870 will fly from Sydney to San Francisco on Nov. 14 and will use up to the minute fuel data, priority takeoff clearance, the opening up of restricted airspace, and new arrival procedures – all of which are possible with new technology – to generate significant fuel and emissions savings. Within minutes of landing, United will calculate and publish the actual savings realized on this flight.

“California leads the nation in protecting the environment and fighting climate change so it’s fitting that United Airlines’ first flight as part its new initiative to reduce emissions is landing here in our great state,” says Governor Schwarzenegger. “This exciting new technology will generate significant fuel and greenhouse gas emissions savings and shows the world how innovation can help reduce our carbon footprint.”

Prior to departure, United will evaluate flight data and will file a preferred route that is most efficient for weather conditions. After reaching cruising altitude, United Captain Tom Spratt may alter his flight path, which is usually not possible with today’s technology, to take advantage of updated weather conditions. Ninety minutes from San Francisco, Captain Spratt will request a special arrival procedure developed by United and Boeing that will generate additional fuel savings with a smooth, continuous descent rather than the traditional step-down approach.

“Next-generation technology and modernization of our air traffic control system could save billions of pounds of carbon emissions every year, and United is pleased to partner with the FAA and provide important data from ASPIRE to demonstrate these savings,” says Pete McDonald, Chief Administrative Officer – United Airlines. “New technology will also improve air travel for millions of consumers by reducing delays and ensuring a more consistent travel experience.”

Data from the flight will be analyzed by NASA and the FAA in its ongoing effort to accelerate the development and implementation of new operational ground systems and pilot procedures to reduce the environmental footprint for all phases of flight.

ASPIRE is a multilateral partnership of the Federal Aviation Administration, Airservices Australia, and Airways New Zealand. United and Boeing have been partnering on the Tailored Arrivals program in San Francisco to evaluate fuel reduction techniques on descent and to facilitate the development of modern Air Traffic Control systems.


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