Project CARING (Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases) aimed at better understanding how airlines deal with the environmental constraints, currently and in the future. CARING pursued three main objectives in line with Clean Sky’s Systems for Green Operations ITD:
- Gather trajectory data from actual flights. These trajectory data were used in Clean Sky’s simulator to evaluate their environmental impact and will be compared with future optimal trajectories permitted by the progress of the Clean Sky programme.
- Understand the current and future environmental constraints and the basis for taxations, emission permits, etc.
- Model how airlines dealt with the environmental constraints, and how it affects their economics, their operations and their strategy.
To be comprehensive, the CARING study covered several models of airlines: regional, low-cost, charter and long-haul. For trajectory data, environmental specialists worked with airlines to record FDR data on a variety of routes (congested airports, secondary airports, medium haul, long haul), aircrafts (turboprops, single aisles, long range) and approaches (regular, CDA) that are relevant for an environmental study. Trajectory data was then analysed and synthesised for use within the Clean Sky simulator. For environmental constraints, the consortium conducted a survey of existing and potential future international rules. At last, an economic modelling was developed based on the previous surveys and an analysis of the other costs within an airline (crew, delays, missed connections, etc.). This economic business model helped understand how the environmental constraints might affect future airline strategies, fleet and network decisions. The consortium involved 9 airlines as well as airline environmental specialists, airline operations & costs specialists and air transport economists.
The project studied FDR data from several thousand flights from 6 different airlines operating 9 different aircraft types. The analysis allowed to understand the differences between trajectories, the explaining variables and constraints for trajectory choices and how aircraft trajectories and standard operating procedures could be improved to reduce the environmental constraints while remaining compatible with the real-world environment of the flights (ATC, weather, operations).
After studying all environmental constraints (noise and emissions) worldwide and explaining their mechanism and financial impact on airline, the consortium surveyed 100s of airlines about the way they tend to adapt to these new constraints. The consortium developed several scenarios for the evolution of the regulatory framework and economic conditions. In addition to environmental costs, the consortium studied the other sources of costs of airlines (all direct operating costs) to put them in perspective and better understand how airlines would balance environmental costs with other costs. Finally, these studies served as input to the development of a global economic model that shows how airlines react to environmental constraints (an in particular EU-ETS) in a monopoly, duopoly and pure competition environment.
These economic models were played against the above mentioned scenarios to project how a sample airline would benefit or not from the environmental constraints in a competitive environment depending on the fleet it operates and of its environmental efficiency. The model showed that green aircraft give a competitive advantage to airlines while at the same time having a beneficial effect on the environment.