EasyJet Eyes Fuel Savings From Airbus FMS Upgrade

Credit: easyJet

UK low-cost carrier easyJet has signed a multi-million pound deal with Airbus to roll out two flight-management system (FMS) software updates across its entire 300-aircraft fleet, as part of the company’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The two software upgrades—descent profile optimization (DPO) and continuous descent approach (CDA)—will optimize easyJet’s flight trajectories, saving over 98,000 kg (around 216,000 lb.) of fuel per aircraft each year. This will cut annual fleet-wide emissions by 88,600 tons, which is the equivalent of driving an average car around the earth 16,173 times. Noise pollution on approach will also be lowered by up to 10dB.

Wouter Van Wersch, executive vice president of sales for the Europe region at Airbus, says upgrade work on easyJet’s 300-aircraft fleet—excluding the airline’s A319s which are slated for retirement—will begin immediately and will be completed by the end of 2023.

“It's going to start now,” says Van Wersch. “We have about a 12-month period to do it, so we want to get it done by the end of 2023 for all the easyJet aircraft. The downtime is very limited and implementation is relatively easy.”

Van Wersch says the modification involves a “very quick” software upgrade on easyJet’s existing aircraft. DPO and CDA will be line-fitted as standard on the A320neo family aircraft that easyJet has on order. Airbus already has around 10 customers for the DPO and CDA retrofit upgrades, including AirAsia.

Following the modification, aircraft can remain at cruise altitude for longer, where there is less air resistance, cutting fuel consumption and emissions. This will be followed by a smooth, steep descent, using only idle engine thrust, replacing the traditional stepped approach.

“Upon completion of the retrofit, this state-of-the-art technology will produce permanent fuel savings of 1% and will make easyJet’s fleet the largest descent-profile optimized and continuous descent approach-enabled fleet in the world,” easyJet nterim COO David Morgan said, speaking at the release of easyJet’s sustainability strategy on Sept. 26.

DPO and CDA are software products offered by Airbus services subsidiary Navblue.

EasyJet is aiming to cut its emissions intensity by 35% by 2035, compared with a 2019 baseline, under a plan which has just been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Since 2000, easyJet already reduced its carbon emissions per passenger kilometer by one-third through a combination of fleet renewal and efficient operations.

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.