Air Canada equips A330 with climate and air quality sensors

An Air Canada aircraft equipped with climate data sensors
Photo Credit: CNW Group/Air Canada

Air Canada announced today that one of its Airbus A330 aircraft has been outfitted with special diagnostics sensors to collect valuable climate data.

The aircraft fit out was carried out in partnership with In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS), an international non-profit organization that utilizes commercial aircraft as a global observation platform of climate change and air quality.

This collaboration will allow IAGOS to collect valuable worldwide data on climate parameters, which will be used by the international scientific community as well as forecasting services like the Atmosphere Service of Copernicus.

Collected data from commercial aircraft equipped in this way the cysts essential research on climate change and air quality on a global scale.

“As a leading global airline, we are proud to partner with IAGOS to advance their important climate research work,” said Valerie Durand, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability at Air Canada.

“Air Canada is committed to full-scale sustainability and working with IAGOS is a meaningful way we can contribute to the collection of valuable, global data on climate parameters for further science research.”

“The information gathered will also help provide more accurate weather data crucial for airline operations, and will enable a more in-depth understanding of changing weather dynamics,” said Valerie Durand, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability at Air Canada.


Collecting data from wildfires

Jean-Marie Flaud, President of IAGOS-AISBL, CNRS and Ministère de L’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, France acknowledged the importance of the data collection, saying:

“We are delighted that Air Canada is the latest airline to join the IAGOS program. The measurements of greenhouse gases, reactive gases, aerosols and clouds are crucial in the global observing system to support societal needs for a greener and more sustainable future.” 

Air Canada will provide important new data to understand climate change issues in northern regions which are warming more than twice as fast as elsewhere, along with new data for tracking wildfire smoke plumes across the continent to improve forecasts of air-quality.

In just a few days of operation, the sensor equipped Airbus A330 has already detected exceptional levels of carbon monoxide over eastern Canada emanating from the intense wildfires in Alberta.

“Scientists will use these data to understand the impact of events like this on the atmosphere, on air quality and ultimately on climate,” said Dr. Hannah Clark, Executive Secretary for IAGOS-AISBL.

Aircraft equipment

As part of the partnership, Air Canada has installed IAGOS’ state-of-the-art climate research monitoring devices on Fin 939, one of its A330-300 widebody aircraft.

The device will measure a range of parameters, including ozone, water vapour, greenhouse gases, reactive gases, aerosols, clouds, etc. during various stages of flight, including take-off, cruising altitude and landing.

The A330, one of only two aircraft types approved for the IAGOS systems along with the A340, flies a mix of trans-Atlantic and trans-continental flights for Air Canada, providing key data for IAGOS.

The IAGOS device is a compact system featuring measuring probes which are permanently installed on the aircraft, near the flight deck.

After each flight, the measurement data is automatically transmitted to the central database of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) research centre in Toulouse, France.


According to IAGOS, commercial aircraft provide an ideal platform for gathering trace gas measurements, as they can efficiently measure at high altitudes where collecting samples is otherwise challenging.

 IAGOS is working with airlines worldwide and this will allow for the validation of global climate models and provide near real-time data in an open-source manner to researchers around the world.

The research findings are freely accessible and currently utilized by approximately 300 global organizations.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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