September 06, 2012
Credit: Image: Airbus
Airbus on Sept. 6 will unveil five measures it says will make the aviation industry environmentally sustainable by 2050 despite projected growth for global air transport.
In its “Future by Airbus” vision, the manufacturer describes how an optimized air traffic management system alone would help reduce average flight times by 13 minutes within the European Union or the U.S. This projection does not include any air traffic management initiatives that could be developed in the coming decades.
Airbus also foresees a new method for takeoff, with renewably powered propelled acceleration allowing aircraft to climb steeper and reach cruise altitude faster. This in turn would allow airports to build shorter runways and minimize land use.
Once in cruise, aircraft should be able to self-organize and select the most efficient routes, says Airbus. On dense routes, aircraft could fly in formation, like birds, to take advantage of drag reduction opportunities.
In Airbus’ vision, aircraft will descend without using engine power or air brakes and would be able to decelerate quicker and to a lower final approach speed enabling them to use shorter runways.
On the ground, Airbus proposes autonomously and renewably powered carriages that would move the aircraft from runways to gates or parking positions. This would enable them to shut down the engines quickly after landing and save on fuel consumption.
Fuel is a key component of Airbus’ proposal, and the manufacturer says the use of biofuels hydrogen, electricity and solar energy will be required to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.
Details of the proposals will be presented on Thursday evening in London.