Flightpath 2050 envisions a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre and a 65% reduction of perceived noise emissions of flying aircraft by 2050 relative to the capabilities of typical new aircraft in 2000. This cannot be achieved by advances in engine technology alone, and requires the contribution from all parts of the air transport system.

In fact, the vision for “Protecting the Environment and the Energy Supply“ states that “in parallel the air traffic control system is optimised to provide the best trajectories for fuel and time efficiency and associated atmospheric missions and also to address noise. Noise projection on the ground is also reduced”.

The overall objective of the ALBATROSS project is to explore the possibilities of implementing a “perfect Zero fuel and CO2 emissions waste flight”, and demonstrate, through a series of live trials, the feasibility of operating such flights in various operating environments, with fuel consumption as close as possible compared to the theoretical optimum fuel consumption and as low as possible compared to the average fuel consumption observed historically, for similar aircraft types operating on the chosen city-pairs under similar operational conditions .

ALBATROSS will inventory the sources of fuel/CO2 waste of the larger set of activities related to the  normal Gate-to-Gate operation of a flight, including predeparture, departure, climb-cruise-descent, arrival, ground operations for taxing and parking, and proposing adequate mitigations. These mitigations will be selected from mature operational solutions with demonstrated fuel/CO2 savings, from SESAR catalogue of Solutions, the SESAR Performance Assessment Report (PAGAR), the European ATM Master Plan or other effective operational solutions, already in operation or in an advanced stage of validation (e.g.: local trajectory optimisations as proposed by EFB/pad applications for pilots).

Of ICAO's four pillars for decarbonisation, which are market-based measures, imported technologies, improved infrastructure and operations, and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), the latter has the greatest potential to rapidly achieve the goal of carbon-neutral growth by 2030. For this purpose, the increasing use of SAF is therefore a necessity and should reach at least 30% by that date. To support this trend, some ALBATROSS live trials will use SAFs.

ALBATROSS will develop a coherent generic “Zero fuel and CO2 emissions waste flight” concept of operation, aligned with the SESAR CONOPS. In consideration of the multiple operating environments (e.g.: every airport is different), the concept will also identify the necessary adaptations for implementation in the specific environments selected. In order to determine the perfect fuel saving trajectories, ALBATROSS will make use of big data and machine-learning techniques, which start being applied in ATM.

ALBATROSS will also examine how the “Zero fuel and CO2 emissions waste flight” concept of operation could be integrated into future Network operations. Among other things, Route Availability Document (RAD) restrictions could be relaxed, even dynamically (on/off options, as single or clustered in scenarios), through improved predictability of flight intentions at all levels thanks to Time-Based Operation (TBO) implementation and provision of 4D trajectories to the Network Manager (NM). The identification and management of Airspace Management (ASM) scenarios could facilitate the synchronised allocation of areas, especially across boundaries, aiming to support the planning and execution of “greener flights”. 

Particular attention will be given to the aspects of coordination between stakeholders, in particular civil-military coordination, which are necessary for achieving a successful integration.       

Noise around airports remains a major health and nuisance problem for the people who live there, therefore any solution demonstrated by ALBATROSS should not increase the noise impact. Noise assessment will be performed in order to be able to choose between the various operational scenarios that will be examined.

Non-CO2 emissions will be estimated as part of ALBATROSS, but trade-off between non-CO2 and CO2 emissions production will not be addressed in trials. Similarly, noise impact will be used to choose between various operational scenarios but ALBATROSS is not aimed at choosing the best trade-off solution between fuel/CO2 and noise.

ALBATROSS defines key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the benefits of the various scenarios developed, in particular related to operational efficiency and environment. In addition, ALBATROSS demonstration will provide a good opportunity to explore the feasibility of adapting the TMA performance metrics developed for arrivals on large numbers of trajectories to smaller sets of Very Large Demonstration (VLD) flights trajectories.

The issue of ideal flight versus constrained flight will be as well investigated, seeking to distinguish between structural and tactical inefficiencies.

ALBATROSS will extrapolate the fuel/CO2 savings observed at European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) level following the SESAR 2020 common assumptions [D4.0.30]. Non-CO2 emissions assessed will also be extrapolated at ECAC level. Other indicators, such as capacity performance, will be considered to assess the impact of environmental solutions versus other performance targets. Noise impact remains a local issue, extrapolating at the ECAC level the potential noise benefit of introducing new operational concepts actually means aggregating individual - airport-specific - noise results over a large number of airports, which will not be possible in the context of ALBATROSS.

ALBATROSS will communicate and disseminate its results at different forum/workshops, e.g. NM users forum, ATM Seminar, conferences, online webinars, etc., and ensure that lessons learned on fuel saving strategies can be incorporated in future SESAR Solutions.

The funding of the project is provided by the EU under the Grant Agreement No 101017678.

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