"A Big Step at the Right Time"
Marion C. Blakey, Paris, France
June 18, 2007

ATM Press Event


Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Juppe. That was a wonderful job of framing the issue that brings us here today. The Minister’s observations are absolutely right on point. Without question, preserving the environmentis a task that falls to each of us. Each side of the Atlantic needs to take steps to manage the emissions of its own airlines.

The good news in the U.S.is that our airlines are producing 10 million tons lessof CO2 than we did in 2000 even though passenger and cargo counts are up considerably. And even though aviation represents less than three percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s imperative that we still push to do more. We are.

At the very heart of our NextGen plan, we’re taking a comprehensive and systematic approach to reducing the footprint. We are getting the science right.

The initiative that we’re announcing today is one more step in the right direction. AIRE — A-I-R-E, the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions — is all about fresh air. You know, the lesson of aviation safety is that everyone needs to pull in the same direction. Today, we’re emphasizing that the same is true with respect to the environment. Through AIRE, we’re joining forces across the ocean — government, industry, airlines, manufacturers, and service providers — to pull in the same direction.

The AIRE partnership represents a lot of work that we’ve been doing separately; but now we’re doing it together. This partnership will be used to develop operational procedures to reduce our environmental footprint. It will accelerate environmentally friendly procedures and standards. AIRE will capitalize on existing technology and best practices. And AIRE will help us achieve each of these with a systematic approach.

Make no mistake about this the reach of AIRE is quite broad: Literally, the focus of AIRE is gate-to-gate. We want to take every opportunity to whittle away at a carbon footprint that’s already low. Every place we canmake a difference, we will.

First and foremost, we’ll use trajectory-based operations on the ground to minimize aircraft run time. That means the jets will get from the gate to the runway as quickly and smoothly as possible. Imagine a town without the need for streetlights because all of the car movements were synchronized. That’s what I’m talking about.

After takeoff comes collaborative oceanic trajectory optimization, which promises major fuel reduction at cruise. Heading into the destination, we’ll be using oceanic tailored arrivals, a low power, continuous descent approach that has planes gliding smoothly in to the runway with minimal power. That cuts fuel, noise and emissions. That could save as much as a ton of CO2 per flight. That’s like planting a tree with each flight.

We’ll begin field trials of these different elements on new routes between our countries later this year. On the U.S. side, we’ll include projects like continuous descent approach at Atlanta with multiple airlines. We also will develop a coastal tailored arrivals program for flights into Miami.

You’ll hear from some of our industry partners on the United States side this morning but we’ll also include UPS and others as we expand the AIRE partnership and the work program is refined.

In closing, I can’t say it any more plainly: aviation does indeed need to make a statement, and AIRE will do it. When you slice time and fuel, the natural by-product is a reduction in greenhouse gases. When you do it in collaboration across the ocean, you magnify the results. In a few years, we’re going to look back at this effort as a model for how to get it done.

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