HOTR: Collins Aerospace sustainability

Feb. 22, 2022, © Leeham News: The headlines and debate over ecoAviation focus on the airframe and engine manufacturers, for good reason. But the aerospace supply chain is mindful of its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues as well.

Pratt & Whitney makes the engines that emit emissions and burn fuel. It works to reduce fuel burn and emissions. PW also is exploring electric, hybrid and hydrogen alternatives. Sister company Collins Aerospace works to find solutions to reduce emissions in other areas.

“We play a big role in sustainability,” says LeAnn Ridgeway, Vice President, Sustainability. Collins purchased FlightAware, which is perhaps best know for flight tracking in competition with FlightRadar24. But FlightAware provides route planning and ADS-B services, among others.

Saving a minute or two

Interviewed on the sidelines of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) conference Feb. 8, Collins provides programs to airlines aimed at improving on-time operations at airports.

Being able to predict on-time arrivals, shaving even a minute or two per flight, adds up to millions of dollars in savings over a year, Ridgeway said. En route planning with ARINC Direct, another Collins company, aims to allow for more direct air routing. This saves time, money, fuel and reduces emissions.

Collins units make components that go into engines, allowing the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The companies support PW in its research for other alternative power sources, like electric, hybrid, and hydrogen.

All these alternatives require industrial and government support. Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, said trillions of dollars of investment and tax breaks by governments and private industry are required to meet 2050 net carbon-neutral goals and SAF use. There is skepticism about whether 2050 and intermediate milestones can be met.

Ridgeway is optimistic.

“Once you see momentum going, and the stars are lining up, things will happen more quickly.

Complex problems

“Aerospace is one of the hardest to abate industrial sectors,” Ridgeway said. “Solving this problem will require collaboration and it’s going to require contributions from all the stakeholders.”

4 Comments on “HOTR: Collins Aerospace sustainability

  1. Leeham provides some great insight into this industry. And, this is an industry that has enormous fossil-fuel impacts on the atmosphere.

    A website such as FlightAware is also helpful, and a very handy way to track flighs and study the aviation system. But, can someone offer deeper insight to explain: how is it that tracking websites (and their data) can be used by airlines to improve efficiencies? I mean, the routes are allowed (and even defined) by ATC, and it is not as though a U.S. airline flight planner can go to FAA and say, ‘hey, we’d like this route because we see on FlightAware it shaves off 3-miles for that city-pair’. The airlines have ALWAYS been focused on shaving off miles, and using technologies to better model winds and direct routing, with GPS and and predecessors (RNAV, inertial Nav, etc.). So, is there really something new and promising, efficiency-wise, to be gained by applying website tracker data, or is that just hype ?

  2. JL:

    They do but then there are some oddities such as the huh hah about the RISE that does nott even exist and the headlines of Prat behind the game.

    PW has the GTF, they have done engineer designs for a wide body, they have designs for existing and they are not 13 years away.

    As an engineer I only see a smoke and mirrors thing with the RISE, using government money to advance (pun intended) themselves out of the box CFM put itself into.

    What CFM gets out of it is an advanced core and gears (can you say GTF?, sure you can)

    Others of vastly higher stature than myself have weighed in on that.

    And that does not even answer the question of someone (who?) offering an air-frame that is a one off engine setup?

  3. What no one wants to mention out loud is that the airline industry is going to have to shrink if it is even going to come close to net zero. That is reality, every thing else is “smoke and mirrors”.

    • That is what I refer to as the path forward.

      If you can implement it, the costs are huge.

      Also, what are the ways you get it implemented?

      Or what does Airbus do if its mandated in the EU but not elsewhere?

      No one has addressed that. It like the 3 monkeys.

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