On course to meet environmental targets

31 October 2012

The third quarter of environmental performance data from NATS shows that the UK’s leading air traffic service provider remains on course to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings by 2014.

The data relates to NATS’ environmental flight efficiency metric, known as 3Di, which rates the flight efficiency of the aircraft under NATS control. In addition to the expected emissions savings, as estimated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the tool should also deliver a £120 million saving in fuel bills for airlines.

During its first nine months in operation – from January to September – a 3Di score of 23.9 was achieved against a target of 24, as based on the scale set by the CAA. This represents an improvement of 0.1 compared to the results from the first six months of 2012.

3Di scores run from 0, which represents a perfectly efficient flight, to over 100, with most flights typically in the range between 15 and 35. The current results indicate that NATS is on course to deliver its expected fuel and emissions savings.

As agreed in advance with the CAA, the 3Di performance over the course of the Olympic Games has been excluded from the overall scoring. This is because the temporary airspace arrangements around London, which were designed to help increase capacity and minimise delays, could have generated 3Di results that were due more to those changes than to NATS’ efforts to improve airspace efficiency.

3Di has been developed by NATS to help its air traffic controllers to route aircraft as close to the environmental optimum as possible by accurately measuring the efficiency of each flight in UK airspace.

It compares the actual trajectory that an aircraft takes, from real radar data, with an optimal profile that minimises fuel burn and CO2 emissions. This means it measures the benefits delivered by air traffic controllers of a smooth, continuous descent or climb, cruise levels as requested by pilots and the most direct point-to-point routeings.

Ian Jopson

Ian Jopson

Ian Jopson, Head of Environmental Affairs at NATS, said: “Helping to reduce the environmental impact of aviation is not only the right thing for NATS to be doing; it also makes great business sense by saving our airline customers money on their fuel bills.”

“These latest results show that the new procedures our controllers are following do make a difference.”

NATS stands to be financially rewarded for exceeding the CAA target or penalised for failing to deliver the expected efficiency gains. It is the only air traffic service in the world to be incentivised in this way.

For more information on the data and the incentive scheme, please visit: https://www.nats.aero/environment/reporting/3di/


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