Governor Welcomes Groundbreaking Green Flight to California

JOHN MARTIN:  Good morning, thank you for being here. I'm John Martin, airport director. A very important day today for this ASPIRE Flight, which I believe really represents the future of aviation, a future based upon technology, technology advances and one based upon partnership between the stakeholders and the aviation industry and that's exactly what's happening here today.

The Aspire Flight and NexGen Technology offers a potential for dramatic fuel cost reductions for the airlines, emission reductions, noise reductions for surrounding communities and an improvement in the overall efficiency of the air traffic system. And that's especially important for this airport. It is very constrained, based upon the capacity of our runways. We believe that NexGen Technology will be the most important measure to expanding our capacity.

It's also a very important event today because of United's participation. United has made a tremendous investment in San Francisco and the entire Bay Area, handling 15 million annual passengers from this airport, about 40 percent of our passenger traffic. So they are showing their commitment to NexGen Technology and the advances that can be made.

I'd like to express regrets from Mayor Newsom, who couldn't be here today. He is a very big backer of the NexGen Technology in recognizing its importance both to the environment and to the aviation system.

I would next like to express my gratitude to the Governor, Governor Schwarzenegger, who has been a very big backer with his staff for NexGen Technology and recognizing its importance to the entire state of California.

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce Governor Schwarzenegger. (Applause)

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER:  Well, thank you very much, John, for the nice introduction and for your great work and for inviting me here to be participating in this great event here. And I want to thank also Hank Krakowski for being here today, who is with the FAA. Thank you very much. And then also Mike McCarron with the San Francisco International Airport and Kevin Brown with Boeing and Peter McDonald with United Airlines -- I want to thank them all for making this event happen and for their great coordination in doing all of this.

I'm very happy to be welcoming United's groundbreaking green flight from Australia here to California and also I want to welcome the future of aviation, because this is where the future is in aviation.

And I love, of course, as I've explained earlier, my job as governor, when you are a big believer in green technology and in reducing greenhouse gases, protecting the environment and at the same time stimulating the economy. That's what I've always stood for. And so one of the great parts of having this job is that you get to sit in a cockpit of a 747 and then learn directly from the pilot what the great technology, what benefit it has in aviation and how we can reduce greenhouse gases and also reduce the usage of fuel.

I love it when people get together and work together for the right thing and also for smart things and reducing aviation's environmental footprint at the same time. This takes amazing coordination and I think this is the one of the things that has come through, talking to everyone, how everyone was willing to coordinate. It takes a commitment to change and also a willingness to work together.

We have here big agencies like FAA and Air Services Australia and big companies like United Airlines and also Boeing, all working together to make this happen. Everyone is cooperating, right down to the air traffic controllers who find the most efficient route in mid-flight and also the pilots who are landing in a different way and finding ways to save fuel and cut down on pollution. Even the team that is handling the plane on the ground, if it has to do with refueling and just putting the fuel in that is necessary for the flight rather than just fueling it up every time, even though you take short flights, or if it is towing the planes out to the runway, or towing it from the runway after landing to the gates, all of this saves a tremendous amount of fuel and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

A single flight like this, just to show to you, can save thousands of gallons of fuel and also significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, up to like 20 tons. So this is really huge. Imagine what we could save if every one of the thousands of flights every day would do exactly what United has done on this flight from Australia here to San Francisco. I would like to see that also being done all over the world.

So this is how we will make a tremendous impact. I think it's time for aviation to move into the future, which requires modernizing air traffic control systems and a commitment to cooperation like that we have seen today. It is the right thing to do for not only the environment but also for our future generations.

I've been focused on global warming, of course, since I've come into office. Like I said, I was always a big believer that we can do both, which is protecting the environment and the economy at the same time. And this is why we have been able to pass AB 32, which is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions here in California by 25 percent by the year 2020 and an additional 80 percent by the year 2050. We also passed the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the Million Solar Roof Initiative, the Green Building Initiative and building the Hydrogen Highway here, so that hydrogen-fueled cars have fueling stations.

California is, without any doubt, leading the way, protecting the environment and protecting the economy. And today's ASPIRE II flight -- which ASPIRE stands for Australia South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions, that's what it stands for. I think it's a great title. And the ASPIRE II flight is yet another fantastic example of what I'm talking about and another green initiative is ready for takeoff.

So thank you very much again. And now I would like to bring our next speaker out here that is going to say a few words and I'm talking about Hank Krakowski. Thank you very much.

HANK KRAKOWSKI:  Thank you, Governor. The FAA runs the largest and busiest airspace in the world. With growing concerns about climate change and volatile fuel prices, the FAA is testing new air traffic control procedures, just like we did with United Flight 870 today. This will enable the airlines to use less fuel. This means less cost and, of course, a smaller carbon footprint. These trials, in demonstrating these efficiencies in every phase of fight, from pre-flight all the way through the post-flight actions to touchdown, a previous trial with the Air New Zealand flight, just for that one flight, reduced fuel by 1,100 gallons, which translates to 2,400 pounds of carbon emissions saved.

The ASPIRE concept is foundational to the FAA's modernization effort known as NexGen. We aspire to reduce delays, provide environmental safety, while ensuring that the system is operating safely and securely at all times. NexGen is now being built and it will be in-placed in stages over the next few years and fully up and running by 2025.

The aviation community is working responsibly to reduce emissions and explore new fuel sources and we at FAA are working along with all our partner agencies, the airlines and the industry, to support these goals and aspirations. I look forward to making more of these green procedures available to the airlines along with all the partners as well.

And now I'd like to introduce Kevin Brown from the Boeing Company. Kevin? (Applause)

KEVIN BROWN:  Thank you, Hank. It's truly a pleasure to be here today with Governor Schwarzenegger, United Airlines, San Francisco city and airport officials and the FAA.

We at Boeing are truly honored to be a part of the ASPIRE initiative. As you've heard from our distinguished speakers, environmental performance is a top priority for the aviation industry and it's a responsibility we at Boeing are making every effort to address. At Boeing we believe we can contribute on two fronts; first, to continue to build the most innovative, the most fuel-efficient and environmentally aircraft possible. But, moreover, to develop technology-based solutions to transform the way our airplanes fly in the global air traffic management system.

We believe air traffic management improvements provide the greatest short-term opportunity to improve environmental performance of aviation and that's why we're partnering with industry, regulators, airports, valued customers like United Airlines, to develop and deploy solutions that reduce fuel burn, carbon dioxide emissions and noise, while at the same time improving aviation safety and efficiency, solutions that optimize routings, minimize delays and hold solid solutions that capitalizes on some of the precision capabilities that exist in today's modern commercial transport aircraft, capabilities often left unexploited in today's air traffic management system.

Concepts like tailored arrivals, used on today's ASPIRE approach and landing here into San Francisco, can be quickly deployed at a relatively low cost, because the technology is largely in place and flying on airplanes today. And the opportunity is huge. At San Francisco alone, the three airlines piloting tailored arrivals saved over 343,000 pounds of fuel in just the last six months and that translates into over a million pounds of CO2 that was not emitted into the skies over the San Francisco Bay Area.

Today's ASPIRE flight demonstration I think demonstrates what can be achieved by what we at Boeing call working together with great partners like Governor Schwarzenegger, the FAA and the San Francisco Airport Authority and key customers like United Airlines.

So, on behalf of Boeing, thank you. Now I'd like to turn the mike over to the chief administrative officer of United Airlines, Mr. Pete McDonald. Pete? (Applause)
PETER McDONALD:  Thank you, Kevin and thanks to all of you who joined us today to make this flight possible. United is proud to partner with the FAA, Boeing, Air Services Australia and our hosts here at San Francisco International. And on behalf of the 14,000 California-based employees, a special thank you to Governor Schwarzenegger for greeting this flight. We were pleased to have the Governor in the United Airlines 777 cockpit just a few minutes ago to participate in a demonstration of tailored arrivals and to see exactly how the program works.

Today's flight, ASPIRE United, is a vision of where United and the aviation industry can and will be when the country invests in modernizing the air traffic control system, a system that was developed in the 1950s. As the aviation industry continues to grow and change, a modernized ATC system is critical to improving the performance of airlines and airports for all of our customers. At United we are focused on running the best airline possible for our customers while maintaining an efficient operation. ASPIRE is a perfect example of bringing together technical and operational improvements that not only benefit United through cost savings but also, if used widely, have a real impact environmentally.

Today we have seen firsthand the tremendous savings we can realize as an airline, an industry and nation, when we invest in next generation technology. Governor Schwarzenegger has shared the fuel savings and carbon emissions reductions from a single flight. Multiply it over 365 days a year, over 3,000 flights per day and at United alone we could generate 10 to 15 percent more fuel efficiency across the system. Industrywide, this translates into billions of pounds of carbon emissions reductions.

I want to recognize Boeing, one of our key partners in this initiative. Many of the 11 fuel-saving initiatives take advantage of cockpit technology that United helped Boeing to develop over a decade ago. FANS, the Future Air Navigation System, enabled us on today's flight to reroute the aircraft at cruising altitude and take advantage of updated weather data. This same technology was used for a smooth, continuous descent as part of today's tailored arrival. However, until the industry and country can move forward and invest in technology nationwide, neither United nor its customers will fully see all the benefits possible.

We look forward to sharing this data with NASA and the FAA to bolster its case for modernizing our skies and we look forward to working with the new administration and Congress to secure the necessary approvals and funding to expedite this critical initiative.

Thank you again to all of our partners here today and now I'll turn it back over the John Martin. Thanks. (Applause)

JOHN MARTIN:  Just in closing, I would like to reiterate the importance of the funding that Pete McDonald addressed. That is really key. The technology is coming on line but the investment needs to be made in Washington, into the FAA, so that they can continue to advance the technology.

I'd like to open it up for questions from the press. First, I'd like to also mention the pilot on board this aircraft, Tom Sprague (Phonetic), the chief pilot. (Applause) Rick Shay (Phonetic) is the co-pilot. (Applause)

So we'd be happy to have questions from the press.


QUESTION:              A question for Governor Schwarzenegger, regarding the state of emergency and the status of the fire in Santa Barbara?

GOVERNOR:           Well, we're working on, as we always have, we try to respond very quickly to the needs, to the local needs. And this is a fire that has spread very quickly. As we have always said, that when it comes fall we are not out of the woods yet, because of our dry conditions and because of the winds, that were yesterday 60 to 70 miles an hour. So fires spread extremely quickly up there and it destroyed a lot of homes. So the state is involved, CAL FIRE, everyone, is working together with them in order to help that area.

QUESTION:              Governor, on the budget, it goes to the Assembly. What do you think about the issue of whether or not it's going to pass in the same way that you designed it and how long do you think it's going to take?

GOVERNOR:           I think that the legislative leaders are responding very well to the needs. And they see there is a crisis and that we have a flawed budget system that is based on Wall Street rather than on our economy, because our economy is flat and our revenues have dropped by 10 percent. So that is something that needs to be fixed and that's why Assembly Speaker Bass and myself, we established a bipartisan Tax Commission to study this issue and to come up with a better tax way and to reform a system that has been literally 100 years old.

And also, I think that they are responding very quickly also that we need to stimulate the economy and that we have to put people to work and also to keep people in their homes. So they are working very hard and I see a willingness there.

I think everyone recognizes the situation that we're in and that it is a different world that we are in now than we just were in a month ago. And I think that we have to respond to that; it's our responsibility. And it's very important also that, before they come into my office and we negotiate, that everyone leaves their baggage, their political baggage, outside my office, because we don't want them to come in making decisions what's best for the party but what is best for the people of California.

QUESTION:              Can I just follow up on the Healthy Families? How is the state capping enrollment on Healthy Families and starting a waiting list, now that Healthy Families really need this kind of service?

GOVERNOR:           This is always the most difficult challenge for the legislative leaders, for the legislators and the Governor's Office, that exactly at a time when you have an economic downturn, that's when people need the service the most but this is when you run out of money. And so we have to reduce our spending, which means that we cannot offer all the services. But at the same time, that needs to be done. But we are also inspiring our government workers and the people that provide all those services out there to go and become more efficient at the same time. But, you know, that is a dilemma that we always face when there is an economic decline but we have to live within our means and we can't spend money we don't have.

Okay, there's one right over here.

QUESTION:              In May I asked you (Inaudible)

GOVERNOR:           You mean the 18,000 that got married?

QUESTION:              Yes.

GOVERNOR:           Congratulations.

QUESTION:              Thank you.

QUESTION:              Can I just follow up on the (Inaudible) a bit more on the specifics of the state of emergency, what's going on down there, what the Governor's Office is doing and what the strategy is?

GOVERNOR:           Well, like I said, that we are working, CAL FIRE and the locals are working together to make sure that they have the resources they need to combat the fire, which is something that we have always done. And luckily we have additional resources now. So we are all going to work together to put out those fires as quickly as possible and then to rebuild and help people rebuild their lives and their homes again. Okay, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.