When British Airways consulted its team of in-house experts to find fuel saving solutions, the result was a state-of-the-art fuel management system, incorporating new software, hardware and practical procedural solutions. Collaboration within the airline and with its business partners is really paying off.
British Airways’ comprehensive fuel efficiency programme encompasses both flying and ground activities. A dedicated team has focussed on flight operations, network operations and engineering, resulting in the creation of a fuel economy guide. Employees are encouraged to submit fuel saving ideas and pilots have been issued with iPads with access to fuel management software.
One such solution is XMAN. This is a bespoke tool developed by NATS in conjunction with several air navigation service providers and British Airways. The principle behind it is to reduce the amount of time aircraft spend in a holding pattern when arrival delays are unavoidable. XMAN works by slowing aircraft down at approximately 350 nautical miles from the destination, which reduces delays and saves fuel. In the near future this horizon will be extended to 550 nautical miles, saving even more fuel.
Single engine taxiing is now a normal procedure on British Airways’ A320 family fleet. Pilots begin the taxi phase out on one engine and then start the second engine nearer the runway, resulting in an average saving of 70 kilograms of fuel per taxi out at Heathrow.
En-route wind optimisation for wide body aircraft. Previously, the crew would climb according to the flight plan, which may be many hours old. This new method updates the flight management system with wind data just prior to a climb, resulting in more reactive and efficient route planning.
Sharklets have been fitted to ten A320s. They are designed to reduce turbulent air at the wing tip, which results in less drag, saving fuel.