Latest UK – Ireland FAB plan builds on earlier successes

14 June 2012

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and NATS have today published the fourth UK-Ireland Functional Airspace Block (FAB) Plan for the period 2012-2015 and their annual report on progress achieved in 2011.

The FAB, the first in Europe, has been operating highly successfully since it was established in June 2008 and is helping to meet the objectives of the Single European Sky legislation.

The previous UK-Ireland FAB Plan included 25 distinct projects which made significant progress during 2011, with six projects successfully completed on schedule while the remainder either carry over into the new FAB Plan or have been superseded by other developments.

In keeping with the ethos of the UK / Ireland FAB, projects are developed on a partnership basis with our airspace users and deliver repeat financial and operational savings to our customers in terms of reduced CO2, reduced fuel burn costs, and reduced track miles.

The savings are outlined in a rigorous Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) which was conducted in 2011. Importantly, the methodology of the CBA was independently reviewed and verified by KPMG.

The CBA shows that;

  • The FAB has provided customers with €43.5m in enabled savings (2008-2011), including a reduction of 48,000 tonnes of fuel (152,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions).
  • During 2011 alone, the enabled customer savings totalled €24.5m, including 24,000 tonnes of fuel worth €17.8m and €6.7m of non-fuel costs, such as reduced maintenance and crew costs.
  • This is more than double the savings targeted when it went operational in 2008. The original target set in 2008 was for €12m in annual savings by 2013.
  • During the lifetime of the 2012-15 FAB Plan, it is estimated that total enabled customer savings will be €120m, a reduction of 116,000 tonnes of fuel and a reduction of 370,000 tonnes of CO2.
  • The FAB is very cost effective. In 2012 the costs for implementing and managing the FAB are estimated at €3.1m, compared with the enabled customer savings of €26.6m.

The results of the CBA have proved the “design and build” model, which the FAB management team adopted at the outset, to focus on short term operational improvements while working towards closer integration.

The focus of the FAB Plan 2012 – 2015 is to continue adding customer value through operational airspace integration. This will help ensure that the projected benefits contained in the FAB Cost Benefit Analysis can and will be realised. As well as continuing work on more than 16 current projects, the new FAB Plan includes nine new activities. These include, for the first time, a UK-Ireland FAB Strategic Planning section, which commits the FAB to the development of three strategic planning documents during 2012 in relation to FAB operations, technology and network management.

The focus of the FAB Plan reaffirms the commitment to meeting the central objective of providing added value to customers through operational integration.

Commenting on the publication of the FAB Plan and Report Peter Kearney, IAA Director Operations & Strategy, said: “The CBA results demonstrate that the UK – Ireland FAB is delivering for our customers. Time and time again they relay their continued expectation for fuel efficiency measures and lower user costs and the FAB is clearly delivering on this. This is, of course, particularly important during this difficult economic time.”

Pauline Lamb

Pauline Lamb

Pauline Lamb, NATS Director Operations Prestwick, said: “The UK-Ireland FAB has already delivered, and continues to deliver, significant benefits to our customers.

Our plan demonstrates how we will build on our commitment to delivering benefits and to aligning our concept of operation with SES concepts.

Peter and I inherit a strong foundation on which to build future concepts which meet the expectations of our customers and work towards SES goals.”

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