Airlines LATAM Airlines opts for fuel-saving DPO function for A320 fleet

LATAM Airlines has decided to equip its Airbus A320 fleet with a fuel-saving Descent Profile Optimisation function.

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LATAM Airlines has agreed to upgrade their Airbus A320 Family aircraft fleet with a new fuel-saving option. With the Descent Profile Optimisation (DPO) function, the Flight Management System (FMS) of the aircraft will be enhanced.

For the installation of the DPO performance software, equipment kits will be provided by manufacturer Airbus. The first A320 with DPO equipped is expected to be flying at the end of 2021 and the whole fleet is expected to be upgraded by early 2022.

LATAM has become the biggest Airbus operator to equip its fleet with the new fuel-saving option. Especially in times of the climate change, new innovations and improvements of the operational sustainability are important.

Airbus explained the DPO function: “The DPO function allows aircraft to descend from cruise altitude using only idle engine thrust, which reduces fuel consumption, bringing proportional CO2 and NOx (nitrogen oxide emissions) reductions.“

„To further enhance the fuel reduction DPO maximises the time spent at efficient cruise level -by not starting the descent too early- and subsequently minimising the amount of 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,“ the manufacturer stated.

By optimizing the descent trajectories, the fuel-flow to the engines will be lowered and with its more than 200 aircraft strong fleet, LATAM is expected to generate over 100 tons in fuel savings per year per aircraft.

The idle decent is only possible with a cooperating air traffic control tower, but LATAM sees especially constrained airports like Lima, Sao Paulo or Santiago as fitting circumstances for the new DPO. In total, the carrier seeks to save 60,000 tons of CO2 each year with the new fuel-saving option.

„DPO is one of the several flight operations optimisation solutions offered by Airbus and its flight operations services subsidiary Navblue. Together with improved Air Traffic Management, these fuel savings solutions enable operators to start aviation decarbonisation now,“ Airbus concluded.

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