Home Commercial Octavie project to reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation

Octavie project to reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation

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Air France, Atmosphere, Cerfacs, CGX, DSNA, Onera and Thales are joining forces on the Octavie project, with the support of the Occitanie region, to reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation.

The airline industry is fully aware of its impact on the environment and is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To meet this global challenge, one of the most effective ways to provide short-term results is to optimize flight operations and allow commercial aircraft to select the most efficient flight plans by following more direct paths and adjusting their speed and altitude in real time.

It is estimated that these measures could reduce CO2 emissions in Europe by around 10% from 2025. To prepare the ground for this company, Thales, Air France, DSNA, ONERA, Atmosphere, CGX and Cerfacs have joined forces on the Octavie project, with more than 700,000 euros in financial support from the Occitanie region, to test the Green Flag concept in operational conditions.

Under the Green Flag concept, developed for the Provert study by Thales, DSNA (the French air navigation service provider) and Air France, air traffic control authorities can designate certain parts of the airspace as Green Flag sectors during periods of moderate traffic. In coordination with air traffic controllers, pilots in these sectors can then adopt the most environmentally friendly practices by optimizing flight parameters (route, altitude, speed) to minimize fuel consumption and reduce gas emissions to greenhouse effect. The concept is based on the use of collaborative digital tools to simplify interactions between pilots and controllers and guarantee the highest possible levels of flight safety.

After testing prototype technical solutions in the laboratory, the Octavie1 The project entered a new phase with the performance of the first tests in real conditions on two Air France flights between Paris-Orly and Toulouse-Blagnac in March 2022. The tests demonstrated the interest of the Green Flag concept and its ability to reduce CO emissions2 emissions while optimizing altitude and distance. With easier interaction between the cockpit and air traffic control centers, controllers were able to maintain the aircraft at cruising speed for longer periods of time, and flight crews were able to adopt safety procedures. downhill approach to reduce fuel consumption. These first flight tests gave promising results that now need to be consolidated so that the Green Flag concept can be integrated into air traffic control procedures on a large scale and in a sustainable manner, even in dense traffic conditions.

“Thanks to the strong commitment of the project partners and the support of the Occitanie region, we have just reached an important milestone in the race to decarbonize aviation. The test results and lessons learned have paved the way for optimized flow management, which reduces the CO of flights2 10% emissions.” Yannick Assouad, Executive Vice President, Avionics, Thales.

“The decarbonization of aviation is a key issue for all players in the air transport sector. The success of the Octavie project shows how crucial it is for all stakeholders to work together to achieve realistic, ambitious and very demanding CO targets.2 emission reduction targets such as those adopted by Air France. Alongside its partners Thales and DSNA, Air France brings its expertise and specialized resources to drive innovations that will make air transport more sustainable.” Laurent Lafontan, Senior Vice President, Flight Operations Technical Development, Air France.

“DSNA is very involved in the ecological transition of air navigation and is delighted to have taken part in this project. The agency’s environmental strategy covers all phases of flight and pays particular attention to optimizing flight paths in complete safety. The Octavie project was a chance for us to explore new ways of working in the pre-tactical phase.” Florian Guillermet, Director of Air Navigation Services, DSNA.

“The Occitanie region is the epicenter of the European aerospace industry. It is the cradle of the green aircraft, and a few days ago we adopted a regional investment plan of 100 million euros to support the green aviation. We must invest massively if we want to remain at the forefront of innovation, research, development and training. This is why the Occitanie region supports projects like Octavie, which contribute to reducing the carbon impact of the aviation sector on the environment. I congratulate the seven partners of the project for their work and for having succeeded in combining their expertise to take a new step in the ecological transition of the aeronautical sector.” Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie Region.

One project, seven partners

  • Air France brings a combination of experience and expertise in flight operations, fleet management and flight operations. Its experts participated in the definition and development of the Green Flag concept, and the company tested it jointly with DSNA and Thales.
  • Atmosphere specializes in satellite connectivity for flight mission management and flight testing. As the lead for the air-to-ground communications portion of the project, the company was responsible for designing and developing an end-to-end standalone connectivity solution for pilot/controller communications during testing. The Octavie project was an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of Atmosphere’s satcom solutions and collaborative tools and applications. Experts involved in the project helped the company move its products up the value chain while contributing to broader environmental goals.
  • Cerfacsresearch center associated with the CNRS, specializes in modeling, numerical simulation and high performance computing, particularly for aerodynamics and climate studies.
  • CGX supports the project with its digital expertise, its disruptive approach to the publication of aeronautical data and its ability to insert secure digital technologies into a real-time operational environment. For several years, CGX AERO has been helping air operators pursue a more virtuous growth trajectory while maintaining the necessary levels of safety and performance. Project Octavie is a clear illustration of how tactical collaboration via integrated digital tools can help generate short-term operational gains.
  • DSNA is the French air navigation service provider (ANSP). The agency provided resources for simulation tests and participated in the operational evaluation of the Green Flag concept.
  • Onera is a research center specializing in aerospace-related R&D, with a particular focus on the environmental impact of the aviation sector and on artificial intelligence methods and algorithms for the decision support tools used by airlines and air navigation service providers. To achieve the crucial goal of carbon neutrality, the air transport industry must rethink its approach to aircraft propulsion, aircraft architectures, flight procedures, control infrastructure and flight operations. Onera brings age-old research expertise to all of these areas.
  • Thales brings its expertise in flight avionics, air traffic management systems and simulation. The Group is in charge of defining and operationalizing the Green Flag concept, conducting and analyzing tests in collaboration with the other project partners.

1 Octavie: Collaborative Optimization of Air Transport with Respect to the Environment / collaborative environmental optimization of air transport