Air New Zealand will fly a demonstration ‘tailored arrival’ into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) today as part of a trial to prove the viability of the procedure into one of the world’s busiest airports.

Tailored arrival procedures allow aircraft to make full use of interlinked onboard and ground technology to descend to the airport, with minimal direct air traffic control intervention. The procedure is approximately 30 miles shorter than the conventional arrival, allowing a more optimal descent.

Air New Zealand chief pilot Captain David Morgan said the airline stood to make significant fuel and emission savings using tailored arrival approaches into LAX.

“Given we operate 747s and 777s on 14 flights a week into Los Angeles from New Zealand the potential fuel savings are substantial. Efficient, highly automated air traffic control systems can make a very big difference to airline operations,” Morgan said.

When fully implemented, the introduction of the tailored arrivals procedure at Los Angeles was expected to realise annualised savings for Air New Zealand of more than 600,000l of fuel and 1,500t of CO2.

The trial into Los Angeles follows the success of a tailored arrivals initiative into San Francisco Airport, in which Air New Zealand has been participating since January 2008.

By Daniel Garrun.