Aerial View of an airplane flying over a city with a river.

Strategies for Improving En-Route Fuel Efficiency

Project Number: 085
Category: Operations, Emissions

Among the opportunities for addressing aviation’s climate impact is improvements in aircraft operations. Improvements in the cruise or en-route portion of flight, particularly from large aircraft flying long distances, will be the most valuable given that the majority of fuel is consumed in this flight phase. This research project aims to assess strategies for improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this area of the operation. The anticipated outcomes for the FAA are a series of recommended strategies for improving the en-route fuel efficiency of aviation.


The outcomes of this research are the identification of near and long-term operational strategies for improving en-route fuel efficiency to support the 2021 U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan. The benefit of this research will inform the FAA on high payoff en-route improvements worthy of further investment. The research team includes a major US airline to bring the real-world operational perspective of barriers that could exist for the implementation or adoption of various strategies. This will include a compilation of current and proposed operational improvements and current airspace/controller constraints.

Last updated 7/20/23

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