13. 04. 2011 - Czech Airlines Testing New, Friendlier Approach Procedures

Prague, 14 April 2011

Several thousand tonnes of fuel saved and a reduction in CO2 emissions by approximately ten thousand tonnes annually, along with a decrease in levels of noise from aircraft by 5 dB – Czech Airlines can achieve these and other benefits with the full deployment of friendlier and more efficient landing approach procedures at Prague-Ruzyně Airport. As of today, Czech Airlines begins testing the new procedures, together known as Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), in full operation on its flights from Moscow, Paris, Milan, Oslo, Larnaca and Bucharest. The airline is cooperating on this project with the Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Prague Airport, and the Spanish corporation Pildo Labs.

Czech Airlines has carried out its first-ever continuous descent approach at Prague-Ruzyně Airport today on Flight No. OK 805 from Bucharest, landing at 8:15. Unlike the conventional procedures used until now, using the principle of stair steps (i.e. combining descent segments with horizontal flight, during which engine revolutions have to be increased), the airline’s aircraft will now use a continuous descent at a constant 3° angle throughout the entire approach. The initial and final approach will take place at higher altitudes above the ground, thus minimising both engine output and noise. Czech Airlines is thus contributing to the protection of the environment on several fronts.

With the application of CDA procedures, up to 100 kg of fuel can be saved on one arrival, which means an emissions reduction of 300 kg in one direction. In terms of costs, it is as if Czech Airlines received aircraft fuel entirely free of charge for approximately one day a month,” says Marek Týbl, a member of the Czech Airlines Management Board and Vice President for Flight Operations. Other benefits of CDA procedures include a decrease in aircraft noise pollution by up to 5 dB and shorter flight times. As Mr. Týbl adds: “For airlines, the full deployment of CDA procedures at Prague-Ruzyně Airport would result in lower expenditures on fuel and emissions allowances, which increase in significance given the current steep rise in oil prices.

During test flights conducted in full operation with Airbus A320 and A319-type aircraft, Czech Airlines will collect data for 30 different parameters required for evaluating the project. This includes data for fuel flow, engine revolutions and aircraft speed at various stages of flight. Test flights will run at least until the beginning of September. Passengers will not notice the change in approach style. Data from CDA test flights will then be analysed with the assistance of the Spanish corporation Pildo Labs, and compared with data from the same Czech Airlines flights flown in December, January and February using conventional approach methods. “We will then evaluate the project, and together with Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, we will present a specific proposal for CDA procedures to Prague-Ruzyně Airport, prepared for implementation in 2012,” adds Vojtěch Labuda, Director of Operational and Technical Development at Czech Airlines.

Prague Airport has always supported the introduction of CDA, which is why we welcome its arrival. During the first stage, it will only be possible to introduce CDA at night, when traffic is less intense. In the daytime, there is a mixture of take-off and landing traffic on one, very busy runway, and conventional approach procedures have to be retained in order to ensure safe separation,” says Jiří Pos, a member of the Management Board and Senior Director for Air Commerce and Operations of Prague Airport, adding: “The good news is that CDA can be fully deployed immediately after the parallel runway is built and put into operation.


This project is part of AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions), a joint European/US initiative. AIRE is a partnership programme which aims to accelerate the implementation of environmentally-friendly procedures for all phases of flight, and to validate the benefits of these improvements. On the European side, the AIRE flight trials are overseen by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU).


Hana Hejsková
Communications Director
Press Spokesperson of the Czech Airlines Group