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Airbus envisions 'Smarter Skies' with environmental benefits


Airbus sees a future with planes that can communicate with each other and fly procedures that are quieter and far more fuel efficient than today. The Smarter Skies initiative is something of a vision document, illustrating what the aircraft manufacturer would like to see by 2050 when it comes to airline and airport operations, not necessarily the details of future aircraft enhancements. On takeoff, Airbus sees benefits in using equipment on the ground to help launch aircraft down the runway. Planes would need shorter runways for takeoff, allowing airports closer to dense urban environments. And planes could then conduct “eco-climbs” at lower engine power settings. Some of Airbus' visions are already being planned through the NextGen upgrades to the U.S. air traffic control system. Procedures that optimize climbs and descents would save fuel and reduce travel time by making arrival and departure procedures more direct, at least in theory. Airbus envisions descents at idle power, saving large amounts of fuel, as well as reducing noise and engine wear.