7th Framework Programme
     Environmental Flight Planning / Flight Planning Tool     03 May 2010

Environmental flight planning tool

REACT4C will perform two principle functions related to the environmental flight planning tool. Firstly, it will develop the modelling capability to be able to optimise the flight planning process based on Climate Cost functions. Secondly, it will run a series of different optimisation scenarios and provide the change in emissions and the related change in climate impact.

Current parameters against which individual flight plans might be optimised include shortest route, lowest ATM route charges, least fuel or most predictable arrival time. These optimisations will be taken as a baseline for this project. Further optimisation will be performed based on minimising several cost functions, as provided by WP2 in the form of a 4D gridded maps of the area under consideration.

  1. All flights optimised for shortest route (with and without constraining airspace restrictions). This will include the scenario where all flights fly great circle which will allow comparison with existing aircraft emission inventories.
  2. All flights optimised for minimum fuel burn, with and without taking account of existing route structure and airspace restrictions (military zones etc.).
  3. All flights optimised for lowest cost (taking account of ATC charges).
  4. Against these conventional baselines, new environmentally optimised traffic scenarios will be developed based on the climate cost function provided by WP2. Different relative weights of this climate cost function will be tested.
REACT4C will perform environmental flight planning twice, once for convential aircraft and once for green aircraft developed as a pre-design study within this project.

Optimisation approach

Underlying concept of flight planning is an optimisation integral which needs to be minimized. In this integral various components of cost functions are summarized each weighted with a adjustable weighting coefficient. The individual weights in such cost functions are selected according to airline policy and strategy.