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AIRE – Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions

The joint initiative AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions) fits in with the cooperation protocol signed by the Commission and the FAA to coordinate two major programmes on air traffic control infrastructure modernisation, SESAR in Europe and NEXTGEN in the United States.

The aim of AIRE is to capitalise on present aircraft technologies and to enhance operational procedures which have a direct impact in the short and medium term on greenhouse gas emissions. Under this initiative ATM stakeholders work collaboratively to validate solutions for the reduction of CO2 emissions for all phases of flight.

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:

  1. Modernise the air traffic management system, by means of SESAR or more generally the Single European Sky and environmental initiatives such as AIRE;
  2. Reduce the environmental performance of aircraft, through programmes such as Clean Sky or studies on the use of biofuels;
  3. 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.