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SWISS optimises Zurich approaches together with skyguide and Flughafen Zürich AG

October 8, 2016 Aviation No Comments Email Email

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has been playing an active part in the demonstration of iStream, a new procedure to optimise the wave of early-morning arrivals at Zurich Airport. Following successful trials, the iStream concept will now be definitively implemented. An explanatory video has also been produced illustrating the procedure and its benefits. 

The iStream demonstration project, which is being supervised by SESAR Joint Undertaking and co-funded by the EU, is intended to optimise peak-time airport arrivals. By assigning “target times” for each flight’s arrival, approach sequences can be established in advance, ensuring efficient approaches for all the flights concerned and avoiding the need to fly holding patterns. This also reduces fuel consumption, along with the associated carbon dioxide emissions.

SWISS is actively involved in the iStream project, and has further refined its own flight management system by issuing target times for arrivals of its flights at Zurich Airport. In collaboration with Flughafen Zürich AG, Switzerland’s air navigation services provider skyguide and further airlines, SWISS conducted a 12-month trial of the iStream concept at Zurich Airport from June 2015. The trial saw the approach sequences for all early-morning arrivals at the airport between06:00 and 07:00 coordinated in advance by skyguide to ensure that each of the flights concerned could fly an optimum descent profile.

Substantially fewer holdings

The trial proved a clear success. The iStream approach cut the number of holding patterns required prior to Zurich arrival by up to 96%, and reduced the lengths of the arrival distance flown by an average of 30% per flight. In view of the trial’s success, the iStream concept will now be compulsorily implemented for all early-morning arrivals at Zurich Airport from13 October onwards. The new procedure will benefit all the airlines involved, and this in turn will enhance its overall positive impact on Zurich flight operations.

SWISS has also produced a video in collaboration with skyguide and airport operator Flughafen Zürich AG explaining the new iStream procedure and the benefits it provides. The video is now available on the SWISS YouTube channel at

Future plans envisage extending the iStream concept to further arrival waves at Zurich Airport and to further application areas within the Lufthansa Group. In view of the success with the Zurich pilot project, a similar procedure to optimise airport arrivals is also being trialled at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

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