NATS reveals environmental gains

More efficient air traffic control procedures and the better use of airspace have saved 800,000 tonnes of CO2 since 2008, a report from NATS shows.

The savings equate to cutting £160 million (USD244 million) from airline fuel bills.

The UK’s air traffic control business has released a five-year retrospective report on its environment programme, highlighting the initiatives it has introduced to cut airline fuel costs and minimise CO2 emissions.

In 2008, NATS was the first air traffic control service in the world to set targets to support the sustainable development of aviation. Since then it has pioneered a number of practical and technological changes designed to optimise airspace and aircraft performance.

The unique 3Di airspace efficiency metric, introduced in 2012, allows NATS to measure the environmental efficiency of every aircraft under its control, while 125 airspace changes have unlocked more direct routes and further savings.

The introduction of iFACTS alone – NATS’ next generation air traffic control tool – is estimated to be saving 10,000 tonnes of fuel, worth £6 million a year. iFACTS gives controllers a view of the future track and trajectory of the aircraft under their control so they can optimise route for fuel and emissions savings.

Ian Jopson, head of environment and community affairs at NATS, was proud of the company’s achievements: “We have made great progress over the past five years, but as we celebrate these successes we must also look to the future.

“Our work towards delivering the next generation of air traffic management infrastructure, tools and operating concepts will provide a step change in our environmental performance, but this work needs investment and against a backdrop of economic pressures we will need to innovate to continue delivering.”

As well as changes in the skies, over the past seven years NATS has introduced a number of sustainability measures on the ground too.

Since 2008 NATS’ energy consumption has fallen 29 per cent, with water usage also dropping by 45 per cent.

View the entire report on NATS’ environment webpages.

Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, Environment, News

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