Airline announces new scheme to speed CO2 descent

Airline easyJet has announced the completion of a fleetwide retrofit, which it says will save some 88,600 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The airline has installed Airbus’ Descent Profile Optimisation (DPO) state-of-the-art technology on all of its aircraft, alongside Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) for compatible, newer aircraft in the easyJet fleet, a move which is said will enable the airline to make a permanent fuel saving of up to 1%.

DPO is a fuel-saving initiative which updates the Flight Management System (FMS) to enable consistently more efficient descents by allowing the aircraft to remain in the cruise phase longer and removing the ‘level-off’ stage at the bottom of the descent, which reduces carbon emissions. While Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) works in tandem with DPO to reduce noise.

“The multi-million-pound retrofit programme, announced last year, is an integral part of the airline’s roadmap to reach net-zero by 2050,” easyJet said. “It will help easyJet achieve considerable and permanent carbon emission reductions in the short-term by enabling more optimised descent trajectories.”

As well as saving on fuel burn and ultimately enabling carbon reductions – DPO Optimisation (DPO) which is complementary to CDA will also help in minimising noise benefitting the airline its customers, the airports and surrounding communities as a result of tighter noise regulations that are starting to be enforced.

The completion of the retrofit programme now means that the airline is the largest operator in the world with DPO and CDA capability.

Commenting on the completion of the DPO and CDA retrofit programme, captain David Morgan, chief operating officer at easyJet said: “While this is one initiative of many outlined in our roadmap to net-zero, it provides a permanent CO2 saving and forms another step on the way to us realising our net-zero target.

“While technologies like DPO and CDA are the best solution for more optimised descent trajectories in the here and now – more needs to be done by governments and policymakers to ensure that our airspace is modernised, including implementing Single European Sky, so that this state-of-the-art technology can be used to its full potential.”

easyJet was also the first airline evaluation partner for IRIS, a ground-breaking air traffic management programme, led by global satellite communications leader Inmarsat, together with the European Space Agency and Airbus, which is set to pave the way for more efficient air traffic management by enabling systems that minimise flight delays, save fuel and help reduce the environmental impact of air travel.

Nicholas Chretien, senior vice president of Sustainability & Environment at Airbus added: “Airbus is happy to accompany easyJet in its decarbonisation journey. Thanks to Airbus technologies, easyJet seamlessly upgraded their fleet with Descent Profile Optimisation; illustrating our ambition to work with our airline partners. These innovative solutions developed at Airbus enable airlines to increase fuel savings and reduce emissions during operations.”

easyJet said it continues to work with stakeholders and public authorities across Europe to advocate for the modernisation of airspace, including projects such as the Single European Sky and the UK’s airspace modernisation programme. For example, the Single European Sky has stated an ambition to deliver 10% carbon emissions savings from European aviation.