Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) have released a draft report on the SMART Approaches flight path trial.
The SMART Approaches trial tested three new flight approaches to Auckland airport, two from the north and one from the south, utilising satellite based navigation enabling shorter, more efficient, curved landing approaches.
A joint release states; “The global move towards the satellite based navigation technology used in the SMART Approaches flight path trial is an initiative embraced by the International Civil Aviation Organisation which aims to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment and communities, while maintaining safety levels. The trial found SMART Approaches reduced flight times and led to a significant reduction in fuel burn and carbon emissions.”
During the trial, aircraft using the northern SMART flight paths (approximately five per day) flew 25,000 fewer nautical miles, resulting in a 739,000kg reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and a 234,000kg reduction in fuel use.
Public feedback on the trial has been taken into account and as a result of this the draft report recommends that SMART Approaches to the airport be restarted in early 2015, with modifications to flight paths over different waypoints, and an increase in the maximum permitted airspeed thus reducing the use of speed brakes in flight.
“The environmental benefits of SMART Approaches present a very exciting opportunity for our industry,” BARNZ’s Executive Director, John Beckett said in a statement. “We believe fuel and carbon savings can be achieved, and at the same time noise impacts on the Auckland community can be reduced.”
Added Auckland Airport General Manager of Aeronautical Operations, Judy Nicholl, says, “We thank the community for its feedback on the trial. We believe the recommendations in the draft report respond appropriately to both community concern and the aviation objectives of the trial. We now look forward to receiving public feedback on the recommendations.”
Public comment has been sought from Auckland residents up until June 27 through the www.aucklandflightpathtrial.co.nz website, and the final report will be published in the fourth quarter of 2014.