Flight plan to cut 10% of CO2 from UK air traffic control

10 March 2009

Aircraft CO2 emissions will be cut by 2.6m tonnes as part of a bold green initiative by NATS that puts it at the leading edge of air traffic management worldwide.

The company is to reduce the total emissions by aircraft it controls by an average of 10 per cent per flight by 2020. NATS is the first company in its sector to create this kind of environmental aim.

Researchers have broken new ground by calculating how much CO2 is produced in UK airspace – 26m tonnes. They have taken hundreds of thousands of flights over thousands of routes from 2006 and the resulting analysis has provided the benchmark.

This benchmarking work is the first important step in the long-term plan to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment.

Chief Executive Paul Barron said: “This is a testing target in challenging times but aviation is making strides to be more sustainable and air traffic control must play its part. What this research shows is that we can make a difference.

“Calculating this was an achievement in itself. But we have also identified where the savings can be made – where in the network and in which phases of flight. This is just the beginning but we can see the path to 2020.

“Safety will always be our first priority but environmental responsibility will become part of our day-to-day work. We are determined to take this big step to leave behind a smaller carbon footprint.”

Mr Barron added that 70,000 tonnes of CO2 had already been saved over the past year through improved airspace management and design changes.

For more details, go to dev2010.nats.co.uk/environment.

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