One of the world's largest airlines, Air China, is set to save around US$8 million a year in fuel costs, thanks to payload and live weather update technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA. Following extensive trials on its international routes, Air China has deployed SITA's FMS Wind Uplink service on all international and domestic routes to constantly update key weather information for Flight Management System (FMS) calculations while en route. This enables the crew to adjust its flight path in-flight according to changing wind and weather conditions, so the aircraft uses fuel as cost effectively as possible.
Lu Yun-Guo, Senior Manager of Operation Technology, Air China, said: "We started trialing SITA's Wind Uplink service in early 2013 and have already significantly lowered our fuel bills. In just six months, we saved close to US$2 million, and that was with implementation across only part of our fleet. We anticipate that our annual savings across our entire fleet will be in the region of US$8 million. Crew feedback has been excellent as well. I'm proud to say that Air China is the first airline to use this technology in China as part of our continuous innovation efforts."
With SITA's Wind Uplink service, the aircraft's FMS can constantly analyze weather conditions on the route ahead to determine optimum altitude, fuel burn and arrival-time predictions. This helps reduce fuel consumption.
May Zhou, Vice President and General Manager, SITA China, said: "Our work with Air China provides a perfect example of how SITA is constantly innovating to help the air transport industry operate more efficiently and effectively. SITA's Wind Uplink service will not only reduce Air China's fuel costs, it will also enhance the safety of the flights by giving early visibility of the potential need to use contingency fuel, or, in the event of a worsening forecast, the need to divert. "
SITA's AIRCOM ACARS Services provide the backbone for the automatic Wind Uplink service. SITA has also installed hardware in Air China's offices to ensure the data provided to the crew is totally under the airline's supervision.
Air China has around 300 aircraft flying on more than 185 routes around China, Asia and the world. In 2013, it carried 48.7 million passengers, putting it in the top ten global airlines. For the past eight years, Air China has been named the number one Chinese airline in a variety of awards programs, including first in domestic aviation service in the 2013 China's Most Valuable Brands awards. Air China was also honored at the 2013 China International Forum on Green Development for its outstanding performance in energy saving and emission reduction and its advocacy of green operations.