The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has worked with NASA to develop a new software that calculates specific times when planes should push back from gates in order to limit delays on taxiways and reduce the amount of fuel used by aircraft as they wait to take off.
The new system was unveiled by the FAA on Tuesday following the completion of nearly four years of research and testing at several flight hubs across the country, including airports in Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta.
The FAA said in a press release that the software will be integrated into the agency’s Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) program and introduced at 27 of the busiest airports across the country, including Washington Dulles International and Washington Reagan National airports.
An animated video shared by the FAA on Tuesday detailed how the software “can determine the best time for a plane to push back from the gate, and roll essentially nonstop to the runway, then take off in a perfectly choreographed sequence.”
“As planes depart, they join high altitude en route traffic with greater efficiency and less airspace restrictions,” the video added.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement, “The future of flight must be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.”
“This new capability as part of a flight merging system has a double benefit: It reduces aircraft emissions and ensures air travelers experience more on-time departures,” he added.
NASA Administrator Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA spacewalk delayed due to debris threat This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Two trajectories to Mars by the 2030s MORE said that the new technology “enhances aircraft efficiency and improves dependability for passengers every day.”
He added, “I’m excited that the software NASA developed for air traffic controllers and airlines will be soon rolled out at airports across the country and know the results will continue to be extraordinary.”
According to the FAA, testing of the new software at Charlotte Douglas International Airport led to significant reductions in plane taxi times, saving more than 275,000 gallons of fuel annually, or roughly the amount of fuel burned by 185 Boeing 737 flights between New York and Chicago.
Additionally, the system helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eight tons of carbon dioxide daily, and reduced flight departure delays by 916 hours, or 15 minutes less waiting time on more than 3,600 departing flights.
By the time the software is completely rolled out to participating airports, the FAA estimates that more than 7 million gallons of fuel will be saved per year, with 75,000 less tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually.