Southwest Airlines Announces More Energy-Efficient Landings

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Southwest Airlines is changing its landing procedures in the hopes of reducing emissions, delays, and of course, costs. The move is driven in part by changes mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration that collectively are expected to save more than 1.4 billion gallons of fuel and cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 14 million tons by 2018.FAA also estimates that NextGen, by overhauling the national airspace system and updating air traffic control methods, "will reduce total flight delays by about 21 percent while providing $22 billion in cumulative benefits to the traveling public, aircraft operators and the FAA."

Environmental Leader has more about the initiative by Southwest:

Under the initiative, called Required Navigation Performance (RNP), pilots and dispatchers follow landing patterns specially designed using global positioning systems (GPS).

Southwest said the new procedures should save $16 million a year from operations at the 11 initial airports, with projected savings of over $60 million a year once the program is instituted at all Southwest airports...

To implement the changes, Southwest has had to modify 345 Boeing 737-700s with new flight display software. It has also had to train more than 5,900 pilots in the new procedures.

The initial airports are: Birmingham, Boise, Chicago Midway, Los Angeles, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Raleigh-Durham, San Jose, West Palm Beach, Amarillo and Corpus Christi.

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