Descent procedures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put in place across the country in the 2021 will save millions of gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 and other emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons. The 42 new Optimized Profile Descents (OPDs) allow planes to glide down safely from cruising altitudes into airspace for some of the nation’s largest airports instead of the fuel-consuming stair-step procedure.
“These new efficient descent procedures both save fuel and dramatically reduce emissions, moving us closer to our goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
For each group of descents used at an airport, the FAA estimates that an average 2 million gallons of fuel is saved and 40 million pounds of emissions reduced annually. That is equivalent to eliminating the fuel and CO2 emissions of 1,300 Boeing 737 flights from Atlanta to Dallas.
“When we multiply the impact by thousands of flights, we gain real fuel savings and real environmental benefits,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.