Operational improvements are another lever we can use to reduce our environmental impact. By optimising flight trajectories and having better coordination with our air traffic management partners, we are able to contribute to reduce average CO2 emission per flight by 5-10%, as defined by the European ATM Master Plan.


Improving day-to-day flight operations

We leverage air traffic management solutions and ground-and-flight operational measures to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment. Some of these practices include: 

  • Continuous climb and descent operations
  • Flight trajectory optimisation 
  • Hybrid on-ground operations

For several years, Airbus has participated as an active member of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking. This initiative works to modernise air traffic management systems, which is key to realising these potential improvements.  More than 500 demo flights were performed to test multiple air traffic management solutions and further demo flights are planned as technologies evolve.


Taking optimisation to the next level

We have a variety of levers we can deploy, including services and software upgrades such as Descent Profile Optimisation (DPO). The DPO function optimises the flight trajectory and maximises the time spent at an efficient cruise level, resulting in fuel-saving benefits.   

We are also working on our own pioneering solutions to further optimise air traffic management. One such solution we have tested is fello'fly, which has been inspired by the flight patterns of migrating geese.

Fello’fly uses wake-energy retrieval to boost environmental performance. By coordinating flight patterns so that one aircraft follows another, the second aircraft can benefit from free lift, resulting in the need for less engine thrust and a wake-saving of up to 10% CO2 emissions. This could be particularly effective during long-haul flights, on routes where aircraft already travel close together.  

Airbus is continuing the fello’fly research with GEESE, that will develop a concept of operations based on continental traffic flows from Europe to Asia and Europe to the Middle East. It will also define the requirements on operations and systems using the traffic flows from Europe to North America.



HERON project to increase fuel efficiency in aviation takes flight
In nature, the heron is a graceful bird that is highly adaptable to changing environmental conditions. In aviation, HERON is the designation of a new Airbus-led European project for fuel-efficient flight operations and a major step towards the decarbonisation of commercial aviation.
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Commercial Aircraft
Airbus and partners target more energy efficient flights
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 the day of the Airbus Summit event. The aircraft flew an optimised trajectory, marking the first of a series of trials planned during 2021 and 2022 within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) “ALBATROSS” project.
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ALBATROSS - The most efficient flight
Seeking the most energy efficient flight - Episode 1 : ALBATROSS
ALBATROSS is a 2 year SESAR project involving the major European aviation stakeholders. Coordinated by Airbus, the objective is to demonstrate through a series of gate-to-gate live trials across Europe the feasibility of implementing more fuel efficient flight on the short term, by combining several innovations: continuous climb & descent operations, flight trajectory optimization, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and hybrid Taxibot assistance on ground.
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Exploring the possibilities of wake energy retrieval

Airbus ZEROe TurboProp


Towards low-carbon air travel for future generations