Saving aircraft fuel during the climb and cruise phases of a flight is a major opportunity to reduce aviation CO2 emissions. We find out how Paris-based Safety Line is offering digital solutions that enable airlines and airports to leverage existing data for safer and more efficient operations.
SITA, a global IT provider for the air transport industry, has announced it is partnering with start-up Safety Line to help pilots and airlines limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and operational costs by reducing fuel consumption of aircraft at key flight stages.
A flight can be roughly divided into three phases: climb, cruise and descent. Safety Line, a young French company that specialises in predictive Big Data solutions for airlines and airports, has made it its mission to help save aircraft fuel and reduce CO2 emissions during all these flight phases with a software suite called OptiFlight.
The focus currently lies on the climb-out – the most fuel-consuming phase of a flight – and the cruise phase.
Paris-based Safety Line offers digital solutions that enable airlines and airports to leverage existing data for safer and more efficient operations. The combination of a solid expertise in aviation associated with patented research in data science applications allows Safety Line to offer uniquely innovative and practical solutions, with a focus on better managing risks and reducing fuel and CO2 emissions.
Improving the cruise phase of a flight
Safety Line’s software solutions for the cruise phase, OptiSpeed, OptiDirect and OptiLevel, collectively called OptiCruise, have been integrated in SITA’s widely used eWAS Pilot mobile application, which is part of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT’s ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio.
eWAS Pilot, used by 50,000 pilots of commercial airlines, business jets and cargo airlines, provides accurate 4D weather forecasts and real-time updates from various sources to warn about weather hazards such as thunderstorms, lightning, clear air turbulence, strong winds, icing and even volcanic ash.
Safety Line’s OptiCruise allows pilots and airlines to achieve significant fuel savings and carbon emission reductions. OptiSpeed shows pilots the fuel and time impact of speed variations with the objective of on-time arrival at the best fuel/time ratio while OptiDirect recommends shortcuts based on historical flight data and indicates possible fuel and time savings. OptiLevel advises pilots on the best initial flight level and cruise level changes, taking tailwinds and headwinds into account.
Improving the climb phase of a flight
As part of the new partnership and through the ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio, SITA is also offering Safety Line’s OptiClimb software. OptiClimb uses tail-specific Machine Learning performance models in combination with 4D weather forecasts, to recommend customised speed changes at different altitudes for each climb. The software predicts fuel burn in tens of thousands of possible flight scenarios and then issues recommended climb speeds to pilots ahead of each flight.
Safety Line data shows that climb fuel savings of 5-6% are possible for each flight without affecting passenger safety or comfort. On a yearly basis, this could reduce CO2 emissions by several thousands of tons and operational costs by several million dollars, depending on the size of the airline fleet. Safety Line estimates that 5.6 million tons of CO2 could be avoided if all airlines in the world were to use OptiClimb.
Technology and industry collaboration for more sustainable aviation
Sébastien Fabre, CEO for SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, said: “We at SITA continue to seek smarter ways to use existing and new technologies and collaborate with partners in the air transport industry with the goal of making airline operations more efficient and environmentally friendly.
“The partnership with Safety Line is another important step for us that will enable airlines to embrace the digital shift that is needed to reinvent the operation of aircraft. It is about adopting more sustainable and cost-effective practices.”
Sustainability and a sharp focus on cost-efficiency, along with safety and security will remain the top priorities for airlines in the COVID-19 era.
Pierre Jouniaux, Founder and CEO of Safety Line, said: “We are delighted to partner with SITA, because pilots and airlines can now easily access our smart technology through SITA FOR AIRCRAFT’s ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio and work towards more sustainable aviation. We look forward to delivering further innovation through this collaboration to save fuel and improve cost-efficiency at every stage of flight.”
News of the partnership comes shortly after a summer announcement that AeroLogic, a joint venture between DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo operating 777 freighters, had become the first cargo airline to implement OptiClimb.
Although the COVID-19 crisis has had less impact on cargo operations, it has further enhanced the general drive for more sustainability in aviation.
AeroLogic is more than ever committed to pro-actively save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions. Climb-out is one of the most fuel-consuming phases of the flight, especially for AeroLogic’s fully loaded 777Fs. Thereby, it offers the most potential for savings, but it is also the most complex phase, with many parameters changing simultaneously as the aircraft ascends.
Machine Learning allows to address this complexity. By building performance models for each aircraft based on historical flight data, OptiClimb allows the analysis of thousands of scenarios taking into account individual aircraft performance and accurate 4D weather forecasts to recommend optimal climb speeds to pilots for each flight.
Further to an OptiClimb trial involving more than 1,000 flights, AeroLogic has demonstrated average fuel savings of 234kg per climb, which could translate into a fleetwide carbon footprint reduction of at least 5,000 tons of CO2 per year.
In addition to implementing OptiClimb, AeroLogic is working with Safety Line to explore further flight optimisation opportunities in all flight phases.
For instance, AeroLogic was the first cargo operator to successfully trial OptiDirect, a solution that recommends shortcuts to pilots based on historical tracks flown and forecasted weather on the route.
According to AeroLogic’s Managing Director, Joe Moser: “Within AeroLogic, sustainable operations is a priority for all. We are excited to innovate with OptiClimb, a unique solution that empowers our pilots to further contribute to more efficient and greener operations.”
Safety Line Founder and CEO, Pierre Jouniaux added: “We are proud to have AeroLogic as first cargo airline customer. We look forward to working together towards even more flight efficiency.”Click below to share this article