Airbus to test flying planes closer together to cut carbon emissions

Geese fly in formation

Geese get a boost from flying in formation

Victor Korchenko/Alamy

The aviation industry is planning to test whether mimicking the way birds fly in formation can significantly reduce fuel use, in an effort to cut emissions.

Plane manufacture Airbus will run two demonstrator flights in the first half of next year. The idea, inspired by the v-formation that geese migrate in, is for one plane to take off soon after another, following closely and precisely enough to take advantage of the air vortex produced in the first plane’s wake. It could cut fuel use by 5-10 per cent per trip, …