Starting from 2011, Alitalia has established a Fuel Management Department committed to start a full program of actions in the operating and planning areas related to all the different phases of a flight, from the maintenance to the ground and flight operations.
Such projects have been implemented to reduce weight on board, to improve the efficiency of the engines (through an internal procedure that requires an engine wash with a double frequency than the one provided by the industry standard), to achieve aerodynamic improvements by introducing modifications that allow a fuel consumption saving by 1%, to reduce auxiliary engine’s consumption by using alternative power generators with very lower consumptions, and to optimize fuel consumption through a set of initiatives on the flight planning and conduction.
For example, we mention the optimization on the aircraft use according to the payload, the routes optimization, a fuel policy oriented to make more efficient the fuel consumption, in full compliance with the safety standards required by aeronautical regulation.
In 2013 all of these initiatives have allowed Alitalia to save 18.000 tons of fuel and a lower CO2 emissions of 55.000 tons.
Overall since 2011 Alitalia has saved 52.000 tons of fuel equal to lower CO2 emissions of 164.000 tons.
WE FREE PROJECT
Starting from 2012, Alitalia has joined a project sponsored by the European Commission under the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management (SESAR), in collaboration with the airlines Air France (Team Leader) and Hop, and the ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers) DSNA for France, ENAV for Italy and Skyguide for Switzerland, all of them committed to realize direct flights on shortest routes, in order to create a more efficient system of air traffic control.
This project, named WE FREE (Week End Free Route for Environmental Efficiency), is part of the AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions) program, promoted by SESAR JU (Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking) and supported by EUROCONTROL (http://www.sesarju.eu/environment/results-aire3).
The WE FREE project entered the operational phase in the month of November 2013 , and the flights performed by Alitalia, Air France and Hop during the weekend 16-17 and 23-24 November, from Paris "Charles de Gaulle" to eight Italian destinations (for Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino e Milan-Linate), will use a better trajectory, achieving significant environmental benefits through CO2 emissions reductions, cutting the time and distance flown, saving more than 3% of fuel burned, improving punctuality and contributing to the modernization of air traffic management system for the implementation of the "Single European Sky".
So the WE FREE project enables the ANSPs – Air Navigation Service Providers to reviewing the European airspace and its management system trajectory to reduce the inefficiencies related to traffic congestion.
The Free Route, that is behind the project, aims to redefine the air routes to make them as short as possible. For the regional and medium haul flights, the best path is the great circle distance which is the shortest route between two points on the surface of a sphere.
The airways, which are portions of controlled airspace like a corridor where inside is guaranteed separation between aircraft, can be meant as "highways of the sky".
A typical airway consists of segments which connect different points upon the map identifying the path, and these airways define a network of paths that let the aircraft move from one point to another along a trajectory, and in the meanwhile circumvent those areas that for various reasons cannot be overflown.
Within this efficiency program, Alitalia is committed to reduce significantly its environmental impact, making use of modern technologies that allow solutions for air traffic control unthinkable until a few years ago and the results go more and more "green oriented".