On 23 February, ENAIRE, the national air navigation service provider, started implementing the AMBAR project to restructure the airspace associated with the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.

The aim is to comply with European regulatory requirements and optimise air traffic management, while also enhancing the efficiency of air operations and improving sustainability with respect to the current procedures. This project means significant savings for airlines in terms of service quality, reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions of polluting gases.

The implementation of the AMBAR project and the modernisation of the procedures associated with it will make it possible to adapt to the regulatory requirements that are currently planned for 2024 and 2030 in European Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1048, with regard to the need to have instrument departure and arrival routes, as well as approaches designed with advanced technologies.

The project has gone through the necessary environmental processes. The required hearings with users were held, and the change was approved by Spain's National Aviation Safety Agency before it was included in the aeronautical information publication (AIP-Spain).

During the first few weeks after implementation, a transition plan is in place, agreed with the National Aviation Safety Agency, as is mandatory for projects such as this one that involve changes to airspace.

Safer, more sustainable

The implementation of this project includes modifications and improvements to the instrument arrival procedures in the approaches to the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, which now rely on more advanced technologies in airspace design, Different operating procedures are also being implemented that enable operations involving independent approaches to the existing parallel runways in both configurations, North and South.

It should be noted that the improvements being made will have no effect on the noise footprint or the schedules. The AMBAR project also complies with the scenarios set out in the current Airport Master Plan, and with the short-, medium- and long-term measures approved by the Environmental Monitoring Committees.

The expected benefits of implementing the project are of various natures and influence different relevant actors in air transport. With regard to operational safety, the implementation of the AMBAR project will result in more predictable manoeuvres as these become more standard, and will decrease the complexity of air traffic management, which will benefit both aircraft crews and the personnel responsible for air traffic management.

From an environmental point of view, the new airspace structure of AMBAR and its associated procedures allow aircraft to fly more efficient profiles, optimising the distances travelled by aircraft thanks to the availability of shorter flight routes. In this regard, since the proposed changes will improve air traffic management and flows to and from the airport, the result will be shorter flight distances and times, and thus lower fuel consumption and atmospheric CO2 emissions.

The acoustic impact is not affected

It should be noted that the changes proposed in the AMBAR project do not substantially change the acoustic impact in relation to the current scenario in the vicinity of the airport, and they significantly improve conditions in terms of noise emissions in areas that are further away from it.

As a result, thanks to the more concentrated flight paths, the more accurate navigation and the new instrument flight procedures, the aircraft trajectories will be tracked more accurately, making it easier to fly over population centres at high altitudes.

No significant impacts have been identified involving avifauna, protected areas or the conservation of the RED Natura 2000 sites, or any effects on national parks, due to implementing the project.

Financial and service quality improvements

The AMBAR project also entails a series of improvements directly related to service quality, which will consequently yield economic savings in terms of reducing delays.

Since the project improves the scenario from the point of view of more efficient management of operations by air traffic control, and of the trajectories flown by aircraft, these circumstances will directly result in reduced costs for airlines through lower fuel consumption, and in fewer delays, thus increasing the quality of the service provided to passengers.

In short, the implementation of the AMBAR project will yield major benefits in terms of safety, operational efficiency, air traffic control and sustainability, making it easier to predict the trajectories flown by aircraft. The direct effect of these benefits are lower emissions and fuel consumption, and the increased quality of service provided to airlines and, by extension, to society.