Many of us have been on a flight to somewhere only to have the plane arrive in the vicinity of the destination airport and then endlessly loop around before finally landing. All airports and airlines have schedules that they try (sort of) to adhere to. But stuff that they can't control - such as weather and mechanical problems - wrecks havoc with those schedules. Those stacks of planes circling around the landing strip waste a tremendous amount of fuel and produce a lot of emissions in a relatively small area. Recently, a Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A330 flying from Newark, New Jersey to Stockholm, Sweden completed the first transatlantic "green" approach. Working with the Swedish aviation authorities, Airbus, and Arlanda airport in Stockholm, the flight management system of the aircraft was used control the speed in-flight based on conditions at the airport. Reducing the engines thrust allowed the plane to land exactly on time with a direct approach and no circling. If all newer aircraft were managed in this way, there would be less wasted fuel, fewer frustrated passengers and perhaps even enhanced safety as fewer craft would be in the proximity of the airport until their landing time.

[Source: FlightGlobal]

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