Route optimisation trials show significant benefits


The early results from four End-to-End Route Optimisation trials in Latin America and Caribbean are showing significant savings in time, fuel, and carbon emissions.

Carried out by the CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas, CADENA, as a Planned Airway System Alternative (PASA) initiative, the trials were run for 90 days in the second half of 2021 and involved one aircraft from one airline on each of the selected routes.

Over the course of the trials, each aircraft produced significant savings and showed how those savings could be projected, per aircraft, over the course of a year. Here’s how each performed.

Atlanta – Lima – Atlanta 9 July – 7 October 2021

Savings90-DayOne Year
Flight minutes5152,089
Fuel (lb)145,425589,779
CO2 (kg)208,445845,360
Ops cost ($)94,693384, 033

Atlanta – Buenos Aires – Atlanta 27 July – 25 October 2021

Savings90-DayOne Year
Flight minutes2351,175
Fuel (lb)62,035310,175
CO2 (kg)88,918444,590
Ops cost ($)41,925209,625

Port of Spain-Miami-Port of Spain 6 August – 3 November 2021

Savings90-DayOne Year
Flight minutes2561,038
Fuel (lb)46,780189,719
CO2 (kg)67,052271,934
Ops cost ($)39,494160,170

Houston-Puerto Vallarta-Houston 1 September – 27 November 2021

Savings90-DayOne Year
Flight minutes5582,263
Fuel (lb)52,841214,300
CO2 (kg)75,740307,168
Ops cost ($)72,993296,027

Because of their success, the use of the trial-completed routes have now been extended for one year. Airlines can continue to use these routes and benefit from operational savings until these routes are published in Aeronautical Information Circulars or Publications (AIC, AIP). The trials involved coordination with a range of stakeholders including airlines, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) of the States along each route, and regional aviation bodies.

Javier Vanegas, CANSO’s Director of Latin America and Caribbean Affairs, said: “The development and execution of the CIIFRA project shows that any change, big or small, can bring extraordinary results. The savings and CO2 reduction we’ve seen so far are remarkable and demonstrate the aviation community’s commitment to a sustainable industry.

“The success of the trials has encouraged other airlines to submit more optimised proposals for testing and the CIIFRA project team is now working with States and ANSPs to publish the already tested optimised routes within their AIPs. 

“We are encouraged by these developments, and sharing knowledge and developing best practices always makes our industry stronger.”

This PASA End-to-End Route Optimisation trials led the LAC region to move towards the regional Free Route Airspace. The CANSO ICAO IATA Free Route Airspace (CIIFRA) team has been formed to make regional Free Route Airspace a reality.

Free route airspace Latin America and Caribbean