DGCA issues advisory to airlines to conserve fuel

Vinay Kumar

Suggests monitoring process for fuel conservation

Measures include planning proper descent profile

NEW DELHI: Concerned over skyrocketing prices of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has written to chief executive officers of all airlines suggesting measures which airlines can take to conserve the jet fuel.

Impressing upon the airlines to take concerted steps in association with the air traffic management in mitigating the present crisis arising out of the steep rise in aviation fuel prices, the DGCA advisory drew attention to internationally accepted world-wide practices for fuel conservation during aircraft operations.

While welcoming suggestions from the DGCA , most airlines said on Saturday that they were already adhering to several such practices.

“But any suggestion from the DGCA is most welcome. We will implement it to the best of our ability,” said M. Thiagarajan, managing director of Paramount Airways.

Dedicated implementation

However, the advisory said that fuel conservation needed serious application by the airlines on fuel management techniques and their monitoring. The DGCA suggested that every airline should put in place a dedicated implementation and monitoring process for fuel conservation.

Mr. Thiagarajan pointed out that hold up during congestion resulted in substantial consumption of the jet fuel and cited example of big airports like Singapore and Dubai where take-offs and landings were more efficient. “We need to take Airports Authority of India and Air Traffic Control fully on board to implement some of the best practices,” he told The Hindu.

He said that Paramount Airways was monitoring individual performances of pilots and other personnel to ensure that best practices for conservation of fuel were being followed.

Mr. Thiagarajan said such measures would at best result in saving of nearly one per cent of the jet fuel.

Improving operations

The regulatory body pointed to the establishment of the Flight Operation Quality Assurance system in their organisation which takes inputs from the flight recorders on various in-flight parameters and is analysed on ground on real time basis for taking remedial measures for improvement in aircraft operations.

Some of the measures suggested by the DGCA include selection of appropriate take-off flap configuration giving highest engine flex power, selection of optimum altitude for cruise to be decided during flight planning process taking into consideration winds and payload, planning proper descent profile — particularly at congested airports — with permission of the ATC to avoid holdings at lower altitudes.

Other measures are: avoiding as much as possible level flying with gear down and full flaps, using appropriate flap setting for landing at runways which are 9,000 feet or more, adopting decelerating approaches to destinations where congestions are reported, using engine reverse at idle thrust on long runways where admissible, increased frequency of engine wash during maintenance, judicious fuel tankerins.

Accurate estimates

For air traffic management, the DGCA suggested providing start up in a sequential manner so as to ensure that take off time was close to the time when aircraft reached taxi hold position, providing direct routing wherever possible and on request from aircrew in flight, providing accurate estimates of in-bound and out-bound traffic, introduction automated air traffic flow management system — initially for the busy air corridors, designing more alternative routes which will have advantage with less holdings.

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