The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has started a collaborative project with airports in the Atlanta and Charlotte region to make air traffic control more efficient, help airlines improve on-time performance and to cut emissions.
As part of the FAA’s NextGen modernisation programme, the initiative, named Metroplex, is expected to improve the flow of air traffic into and out of all airports in the Atlanta and Charlotte metropolitan areas.
As part of the project, FAA will work with airlines, air traffic controllers and local airports in the regions to create separate high-altitude flight tracks for Atlanta departures and Charlotte arrivals to allow aircraft to climb and descend without leveling off.
The initiative will streamline airspace over the regions to help reduce airspace complexity for air traffic controllers and flight crews as well as create an optimised profile descent (OPD) procedures (idling approaches) into the Atlanta and Charlotte airports.
The initiative is based on satellite navigation or performance-based navigation (PBN), which will enable pilots to fly aircraft using radar or satellite coverage, or by using the on-board flight management system.
According to the FAA, PBN facilitates shorter, more direct routes that cut down the flight time and fuel consumption, resulting in reduced carbon emissions.
Once the PBN procedures begin, the FAA estimates that airlines will be able to cut 1.2 million nautical miles per year from their routes into and out of Atlanta, which is equal to 2.9 million gallons of fuel saving and 30,000t of reduction in carbon emissions.
For Charlotte, the hub of US Airways, the FAA estimates there will be 2.5 million fewer nautical miles flown per year resulting in 3.7 million gal of fuel saving and 35,000t of less carbon emissions per year.
FAA led initiative also participated by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, and Atlanta and Charlotte-area airports.
FAA acting administrator, Michael Huerta, said: "The Federal Aviation Administration and aviation industry are teaming up to make some of the busiest airspace in the world also the most efficient."
Heurta continued: "The end result for travellers will be fewer delays, quicker flights and an even safer, greener flying experience."
Metroplex initiatives are underway or planned in 21 metropolitan areas across the country.
Image: The FAA project will enhance air traffic control, airlines on-time performance, and target the reduction of emissions in the Atlanta and Charlotte region. Photo: FAA