NATS has enabled a reduction of more than 600,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions thanks to more efficient air traffic control procedures, improved use of airspace and innovative technology in the last financial year. This is equivalent to £155 million in fuel savings for airlines.
The record-breaking results were published in NATS’ 2014-15 Corporate Responsibility report, which reviews its environmental and community affairs performance, on World Environment Day.
Last year NATS became the first air navigation services provider in the world to adopt the use of near real time airspace efficiency monitoring using an in-house developed tool called Flight Optimisation System – or FLOSYS. The tool uses real radar data and combines it with NATS’ 3Di airspace efficiency metric to produce a graphical representation of every flight in UK airspace, meaning controllers can immediately review performance and identify areas for improvement, or best practice techniques to share.
NATS has also continued to work closely with industry leaders, including airlines, airports and manufacturers, as part of the Sustainable Aviation coalition to increase the use of continuous descent operations (CDO) around 23 airports, to save fuel and reduce airlines’ CO2 emissions, while reducing noise for flights around airports. Last year more than 39,000 additional quieter flights were achieved through CDO, from its launch in July 2014 to April 2015. The figure remained high even with an increase of traffic.
Through these efficiency measures, NATS has reduced the average ATM related CO2 emissions per flight by 4.3%, compared to flights in 2006, exceeding its 4% target for 2014. In 2008, NATS became the first ANSP in the world to set itself targets on the environmental performance of its airspace, including to reduce average ATM related CO2 emissions per flight by 10% by 2020.