Aviation

How Hawaiian Airlines is answering the sustainability call

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Sustainability is one of the hot topics of the travel industry right now, and Travel Weekly took the opportunity, while attending the 2018 Global Tourism Summit in Honolulu, to find out how Hawaiian Airlines is doing its bit for the environment.

Here, Brian Beres (senior director of flight standards and qualifications) and Art Parra (senior manager of fuel efficiency) provide the lowdown…

Travel Weekly: Hawaiian Airlines has a range of initiatives that support the sustainability principle. What ones will it be focusing on most going forward?

Brian Beres: We have a number of initiatives that have begun and are maturing. The focus is on improving our participation rates among the various programs that require frontline employees to participate. The one we spend a big deal of our time on now is our APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) off initiative, which we had some initial success with.

Art Parra: One of the initiatives Hawaiian Airlines is looking to do with Australia is the deployment of a program called ‘Long-range ATFM’ or ‘Long-range Air Traffic Flow Management’. That’s pretty exciting for us because what that does is you can make a long-range reservation for the runway slot, so it’s going to reduce our delays and reduce holding, especially over Sydney. That is going to save on fuel and emissions.

It’s exciting because there’s a lot of coordination that needs to take place, and we’re always looking forward to some of the opportunities where we can coordinate in bigger things as a group and not just internally at Hawaiian.

TW: Are there plans in the near future to roll out more environmentally-friendly fleets, are is the focus more on making existing ones as sustainable as possible?

BB: We’re focused on both areas. We’re continually monitoring how we’re doing on the existing programs and improving in areas where we have some distance to make up against our goals versus our actual practice.

We do have an interest in continuing to conduct (ASPIRE) demonstration flights. It’s something to constantly shoot for, and we always want to be pushing the limits of what’s possible, not from a safety standpoint, but from an efficiency standpoint. We haven’t decided on a date yet, but we’ve talked about doing a demonstration flight to Sydney in the near future.

AP: We’re not too clear about when that will be, and it might not be called an ASPIRE flight. It might have the same concept, but done internally with our own name for the flight. ASPIRE or not, we still plan to do a demonstration flight to Sydney. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate Hawaiian’s sustainability best practices on more of a long-range journey.

BB: One thing we implemented after our last demonstration flight was something called ‘In-trail Procedure’ or ‘ITP’, which allows us to reduce the amount of separation to climb in front of or behind other aircraft by more actively displaying that position information to the pilot and the air traffic controller (ATC).

TW: Does Hawaiian Airlines have a specific target that it’s working towards in terms of reducing CO2 emissions?

AP: Basically, we want to be carbon neutral growth from our 2020 baseline.

TW: What could the aviation industry, as a whole, do more of around sustainability?

BB: We need to be more collaborative as an industry so we can have more flexibility with routing decisions, and make better decisions around separation in remote areas of the world. Hawaiian Airlines has been participating in trials where we partner with the FAA to send a higher frequency of what we call ‘CPDLC’ or ‘Controller Pilot Data Link Communication’ messages, with the idea that if ATCs have a higher degree of certainty around our aircraft position, then we can reduce our separation in-trail of other aircraft safely.

Designing arrivals that are more efficient is in progress, but we can definitely do better there. Improving ATC resources is another area we can improve on as an industry. In a lot of cases, our air traffic control facilities in the US need to be modernised. Something I think all airlines would be behind is a longer-term vision to make the system more efficient in a sustainable way.

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