ATM Modernization, Commercial

Boeing Launches In-Flight Optimization Tools

By Tish Drake | October 28, 2010
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Boeing introduced subscription-based services to help airlines save fuel and increase environmental efficiency. InFlight Optimization Services are designed to be implemented within current air traffic and airline operating procedures using existing communication channels. Boeing said the services, Direct Routes and Wind Updates, provide up-to-the-minute information to airlines and their flight crews, enabling adjustments en route to account for weather and air traffic control status.

"We are bringing to market easy-to-implement solutions to help our customers reach new levels of operational and environmental efficiency by reducing cost, fuel use and CO2 emissions," said Sherry Carbary, vice president of Flight Services, Commercial Aviation Services, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "As part of our commitment to offer lifecycle solutions to our customers, we are now providing real-time flight efficiency advisories."

According to Boeing, Direct Routes alerts an airline’s operations center and flight crew every time a simple, more fuel-efficient path opens up along the intended route of flight. To increase the likelihood of air traffic controller approval and to keep workload to a minimum, the advisories are pre-checked for traffic conflicts, wind conditions, established airspace constraints and other factors. Wind Updates increases fuel efficiency and improves aircraft performance by sending datalink messages directly to the flight deck with real-time, flight-customized wind information. These messages enable the airplane’s flight management computer to recalculate flight control inputs based on more accurate and precise information.

Boeing collaborated with NASA, Continental Airlines and Southwest Airlines in the development of Direct Routes to ensure operational viability and assess the benefits and shared details of the project and its findings with FAA.

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