The Environmental Sustainability Award: NATS

Longlisted for a Business in the Community Responsible Business Award 2018 

Action and Impact 
With a 2020 goal to reduce the UK aviation’s carbon emissions by an average of 10% per flight, NATS – the UK’s Air Navigation Service Provider – is an organisation like no other in its sector. “It’s an unprecedented initiative. No other air traffic control organisation in the world has targets like this,” says NATS CEO Martin Rolfe.

The ambitious goal, which equates to around 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, was set in 2008.  This goal is all the more important given aviation’s contribution to climate change from the release of greenhouse gas emissions, particulates and water vapour, as fuel is combusted.

So far, more than 450 airspace improvements have reduced CO2 emissions by 1.2 million tonnes annually to date.  This means a reduction in fuel consumption of 380,000 tonnes, worth £180 million to airline customers.

NATS has also delivered a 6% improvement in aircraft emissions (average per flight), within the UK and North Atlantic, and at UK airports. This has been delivered by improving the trajectories of aircraft flights and reducing emissions from aircraft stacking and ground-based taxiing. 

NATS forecasts that it will achieve 8% of the challenging target by 2020, but says it has plans in place to fill the gap.