OMEGA analysis tool: Protecting the environment with big data

The OMEGA analysis tool supports Lufthansa Cargo with climate protection. Even more accurate evaluation of the flight data helps sustainably increase the efficiency of flight operations.

The shorter the route, the lower the fuel consumption – this is immediately apparent. However, flight routes established by air traffic control are not necessarily the shortest route between the departure and arrival airports. The established route from the Norwegian airport Stavanger to Frankfurt am Main, for example, takes a detour via Amsterdam. The pilots of Lufthansa Cargo therefore almost always fly a shortcut over Groningen. Although they have to get a permit to do so, the effort is nevertheless worthwhile: thanks to a route that is 72 kilometers shorter, they save 600 kilos of kerosene and reduce CO2 emissions. In the past, such shortcuts used to be based solely on the experience of the individual pilot. However, for two years now, Lufthansa Cargo has been using the OMEGA (Ops Monitor and Efficiency Gap Analyzer) analysis tool. It collects heaps of flight data and helps the pilots fly in an ecologically efficient manner.

Flight routes established by air traffic control (blue lines) are not necessarily the shortest route between the departure and arrival airports. The OMEGA analysis of the Stavanger to Frankfurt am Main route shows how pilots can take shortcuts (green lines).

OMEGA works with loads of flight data

Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo developed the OMEGA software together with the IT specialist Honeywell Aviaso. The tool aggregates a number of aircraft and route-specific parameters that are continuously stored in the flight recorder on each flight. They include weather conditions, speed, flap position and of course kerosene consumption. These actual values are compared with the planned and optimal values and analyzed. “Pilots can use the statistics to, for example, see how much kerosene they have consumed on a particular route over the last two years as a basis for their decision on routes and refueling,” explains Bettina Jansen, Head of Environmental Management at Lufthansa Cargo. The pilots can refuel according to need and minimize fuel buffers. This also applies to kerosene consumption during trips to and from the runways. “With the help of OMEGA, the fuel efficiency team was able to precisely determine the actual amount of fuel that is consumed while taxiing and adjust the planning accordingly. This saves about 650 tons of CO2 per year,” says Bettina Jansen.

Pilots can prepare optimally using the tool

Flap position data also helps to save fuel. The farther the flaps are extended, the higher the air resistance and kerosene consumption. OMEGA allows the airline to evaluate the conditions under which its cargo aircraft can land with kerosene-saving flap positions.

By 2020, Lufthansa Cargo aims to reduce CO2 emissions per transported ton by 25 percent compared to 2005. OMEGA is an important component in achieving this goal. Combined with other measures, the IT tool already saved more than 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions in the first year. The airline has already received the “German Aviation Innovation Award” and the “German Award for Excellence” from the German Association for the Certification of Management Systems (DQS).

Text by Gesine Oltmanns
Photos: Lufthansa Cargo
Illustration: Honeywell Aviaso