Managing clean air

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University are part of a UK consortium looking at how aviation pollution can be cut by better air traffic management


Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) are part of a UK consortium looking at how aviation pollution can be cut by better air traffic management (ATM).



The consortium, which also includes BAE Systems, Qinetq, Thales ATM and the universities of Cranfield and Loughborough, has set up the Environmentally Friendly Airport Air Traffic Management Systems (EFAS) project.



EFAS, which is co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, aims to identify the potential technologies and systems that will reduce the environmental impact caused by the projected growth of air travel. Management decisions at airports and air traffic control have been identified as an area that could reduce carbon and nitrogen emissions.



‘We’re looking very much at management decisions and the response of the aviation sector to, for example, the challenge of carbon,’ said Dr Paul Hooper, of MMU’s Centre for Air Transport and the Environment (CATE). ‘The industry needs to be able to say ‘Look, we’re doing all that is reasonable to ensure that any absolute increases in carbon are as small as possible – that the benefits that aviation gives the economy come at the smallest possible penalty’.’



One example of how changes in management could reduce emissions is the use of a continuous descent which will bring an aircraft to ground in a steady glide rather than in staggered steps that consume more fuel and create more noise.



EFAS want to identify candidate ATM technical solutions by early 2008 that will reduce the impact of air traffic by 2030 while maintaining efficiency and safety.