Driven by a strong commitment to sustainability, AirAsia will be installing an innovative aircraft software modification known as Descent Profile Optimiser (DPO) on its A320ceo aircraft commencing from June in conjunction with the World Environment Day celebration this Sunday. This upgrade will help to generate fuel savings and significantly reduce carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions.
The enhancement to the aircraft’s onboard Flight Management System (FMS) performance database allows the aircraft to optimise the descent phase of the flight which subsequently minimises the amount of time spent at an inefficient level off.
The new initiative is set to reduce fuel consumption and improve the fuel efficiency by up to 0.75% of fuel burn which is equivalent to saving 101 kgs of CO₂ emissions per flight. This could reduce CO₂ emissions by over 221 tonnes per aircraft per year, representing a considerable contribution to more sustainable Flight Operations.
Once installed initially on 17 aircraft, it would save 3,764 tonnes of CO₂ per year or the equivalent of 62,700 urban trees planted based on the US EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AAAGL) said, “As the travel industry begins to recover and we expect to get back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, it is important that we review our climate strategy and put in place new mechanisms and processes that will help to minimise the environmental impact of our flight operations. Installing the new flight operations optimisation solution for our current A320ceo aircraft allows us to reduce our carbon footprint for the short and medium-term as we continue to gradually upgrade our fleet to the higher capacity and more fuel-efficient A321neo in the longer term.
“Given the reality of climate change and the airline industry’s contribution to emissions, reducing our carbon footprint is currently one of our top sustainability priorities and we look forward to further reducing an additional 221 tonnes of CO₂ emissions per aircraft each year with the DPO system we are implementing. We remain committed to ensuring not only that we build a sustainable airline but also align with the aviation industry’s sustainability goal to reach net-zero by 2050.”
Besides the DPO, AirAsia has implemented several other key efficiency initiatives to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions such as One Engine Taxi (procedure to operate one engine during the taxi phase of flight instead of both engines), Idle Reverse Landing (a procedure that uses idle engine thrust upon landing instead of powered thrust to reduce noise and fuel burn) and the Required Navigation Performance-Authorisation Required (RNP-AR) approach (a procedure that uses the aircraft’s advanced navigation capabilities instead of conventional ground-based equipment for the shortest landing approach). In 2021, these measures enabled AirAsia to avoid emitting 11,175 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to planting 186,250 urban trees.