MIAMI – Airbus’ fuel-saving “Descent Profile Optimisation” (DPO) function will be installed on LATAM Airlines’ A320 Family fleet.

The DPO function is a fuel-saving modification to the aircraft’s onboard Flight Management System (FMS) performance database

This modification will be carried out on over 200 A320 family aircraft, making it the largest Airbus fleet to be equipped with this strong fuel-saving option. From the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2022, all of the equipment kits required for the installation of the DPO performance software on LATAM’s A320 Family fleet will be supplied.

LATAM PR-MYQ Airbus A320-200. Photo: João Pedro Santoro/Airways

Descent Profile Optimisation

According to an Airbus press release, the DPO function allows aircraft to descend from cruise altitude using just idle engine thrust, lowering fuel consumption and reducing CO2 and NOx emissions proportionally.

To further reduce fuel consumption, DPO maximizes time spent at an efficient cruise level – by not starting the descent too soon – and reduces time spent at an inefficient level-off stage at the bottom of the descent – when the aircraft’s engines generate thrust to maintain level flight in dense air prior to final landing approach.

Photo: Airbus

Over 100 tons of Fuel Saved per Year

One of the most important aspects of working with Air Traffic Control to increase efficiency is to optimize the aircraft’s flight trajectory.

LATAM Airlines will save over 100 tons of fuel per year per aircraft across their network, including constrained airports like Lima, Santiago, and So Paulo, by optimizing the descent trajectories of its aircraft and reducing the fuel flow to the engines -resulting from the lowest ‘idle’ thrust setting during the descent phase- thanks to the DPO function.

With 60,000 tons of CO2 emitted per year, this will reduce CO2 emissions by about 300 tons per aircraft every year, making a substantial contribution to more sustainable flight operations for the entire LATAM Airlines’ A320 Family fleet.

Airbus and its flight operations services subsidiary Navblue offer several flight operations optimization solutions, including DPO. These fuel-saving solutions, when combined with improved Air Traffic Management, enable operators to begin aviation decarbonization right away.

Featured image: LATAM CC-BHA Airbus A320-271N. Photo: Otto Kirshof/Airways