Tue 23 May 2017 – Hawaiian Airlines has achieved a key fuel and carbon emissions objective of having all its wide-body aircraft arriving at airports on a single day to be connected with electrical power at the gate. In the past year, the carrier has been working towards a goal of having gate power available to its entire wide-body fleet within three minutes of arrival as aircraft fly between Hawaii, 11 US cities and 10 international destinations. Through significantly reducing usage of onboard auxiliary power units (APUs) by an estimated 30 minutes a flight, Hawaiian estimates it could save around 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cut CO2 emissions by 5,933 tonnes – roughly enough fuel to fly the airline’s wide-body fleet for a day.
APUs burn jet fuel to keep lights, avionics systems, air conditioning and other equipment on while the aircraft is on the stand but airports are also keen for airlines to make use of more efficient external power where possible. Hawaiian line service and ground crews have already met the three-minute target on 92% of flights on average and during the recent “100 Percent Day”, 47 wide-body flights received external power at airports from Auckland to New York.
“It’s very much like a carefully choreographed dance requiring great timing and tight coordination of everyone involved in bringing our airplanes to the gate once they’ve landed,” explained Jon Snook, the airline’s EVP and COO. “Our teams must ensure the availability of working external power at the gate, monitor minute-by-minute the estimated arrival time of the aircraft and ensure all personnel are in place and ready to receive the aircraft.”
Hawaiian already provides external gate power to its narrow-body fleet that average 170 daily flights between the Hawaiian islands. It also owns portable power units that can be deployed in the event jet-bridge electricity is unavailable or malfunctioning.
Reducing APU usage aligns with its ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment, says the airline, which claims to operate one of the youngest fleets in the US industry, with 18 new A321neos shortly to be added starting later this year. Last year, Hawaiian conducted two demonstration gate-to-gate best practice flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland under the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE).
It also recently became the first US carrier to join the IAGOS international scientific monitoring project that is researching climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian has equipped an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool to collect valuable data from across its far-reaching network.
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