Who do you think knows the best route of flight for your plane to take once it is in the air? If you said air traffic control, or the planes ahead of you, or your only plane's flight management system, you would probably all be right.
As I wrote earlier this month in my SmartPlanet blog, GE Aviation is testing software that will help pilots choose the most environmentally efficient flight trajectories taking into account conditions on four dimensions -- latitude, longitude, altitude and time. On the ground, of course, are the air traffic controllers who know stuff about other planes and such that your pilot may not know.
GE is involved with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) here in the United States in a test of this technology that is part of the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (aka CLEEN) program. Now, the company has now been asked to participate in a similar program in Europe called the Atlantic-Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (or AIRE) Green Connections. The partners in that project are LFV Sweden, Swedavia, SAS Scandanavian Airlines, GE and Rockwell Collins. The focus is on gate-to-gate performance, that mysterious thing that airline "on time" ratings are based on. And the thing that magically helps you still be on time (sometimes) even if you sit on the runway for way longer than you should.