AIRE presently comprises on the European side alone, 18 projects involving 40 airline, airport, air navigation service provider and industry partners. Seven of the 18 project focus directly on complete green flights (i.e. gate-to-gate, instead of on a particular phase of flight), among others between France and the French West Indies. One highlight of the programme will be a series of green transatlantic flights with the Airbus A380, the world’s largest airliner. In 2009, the European AIRE projects already conducted more than 1,000 flight trials in real conditions with 18 partners. As a result, many of the tested green procedures have already been implemented into ‘day-to-day operations’.
For the Commission, the air transport sustainable development strategy is based on a consistent three-pillared approach:
- Modernise the air traffic management system, by means of SESAR or more generally the Single European Sky and environmental initiatives such as AIRE;
- Reduce the environmental performance of aircraft, through programmes such as Clean Sky or studies on the use of biofuels;
- Economic mechanisms for trading emission rights, provide incentives for greener operations.
AIRE is the first large-scale environmental initiative bringing together aviation players from both sides of the Atlantic.