Minimizing the operational costs and environmental impact of an airline
Licentiate thesis, 2013
The airline industry is struggling with continuously increased costs and tough competition on most markets all over the world. In addition, increased environmental awareness puts additional pressure on the airlines to do its outmost to minimize its environmental impact. To handle this new operational environment, efficiency programmes are being adapted in many airlines and special focus are on external cost such as fuel costs and air traffic management related costs. In addition, more stringent environmental legislation is limiting expansion in many markets, due to capacity issues at larger airports and operational constraints.
To be able to improve the performance of the aviation industry, research and development is being conducted both as seen from a ground based perspective as well as an airborne perspective. New technical solutions are foreseen to be implemented in the coming decade, with focus on communication, navigation and surveillance, since many technical systems being used are more than 70 years old, such as the surveillance radar and the instrument landing system.
Trade-off situations will occur and there will be stringent requirements on how to measure validation activities in terms of introducing new enablers to improve efficiency as well as monitoring the performance of the aviation industry in a long term perspective. There is traditionally a very fragmented view on how this will be conducted in the future.
This thesis treats the subject of fuel conservation and how to be successful in this area from an airline’s perspective. The early parts of the thesis introduce the concept of operating cost and flight related environmental aspects. The latter part of the thesis discusses the area of energy efficiency in the aviation industry and how to measure it. A method was suggested on how to measure fuel efficiency in the latter part of the flight and later on refined and used in a validation project called VINGA in the frame of the Single European Sky ATM research initiative, regarding environmental benefits from state of the art instrument approach procedures, based on satellite navigation. The VINGA project was recently awarded the ATC Global Excellence Environmental Award 2013.