NATS on target for 10% CO2 cut by 2020 as new CEO urges faster pace

17 September 2010

NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic control company, has announced that it is on course to achieve its ground-breaking emission reduction programme as it reports annual savings of 50,000 tonnes of CO2.

In 2008, the company became the first air traffic control provider to set targets to co-operate with the industry to reduce ATM CO2 by an average of ten per cent of per flight by 2020.

Today, NATS has published its second annual report, which shows that 50,000 tonnes of CO2 were saved last year. It also details how the company staged the first “perfect flight”, between Heathrow and Edinburgh, to demonstrate the ideal fuel-saving trajectory for aircraft.

Chief Executive Richard Deakin, who took over in April, told the 5th ATAG Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, that NATS had made good progress and must build on its achievements to ensure it meets the climate challenge.

He said: “This is a win-win. The work we are doing not only removes CO2 from the atmosphere, it also means cheaper fuel bills for the airlines and greener airport operations.

“NATS has devised the toolkit to measure the emissions produced by our network – no other air traffic controller has done this. In a way, this is the key to unlock air traffic systems across the world to see where and how savings can be achieved.

“As the aviation industry moves towards a more sustainable future, a future which cannot happen unless air traffic control is matching the pace the airlines are setting, we need to ensure we are focused on delivering benefits to our customers and for the environment.”

Richard added that other companies had already approached NATS to learn from its approach in both its air network plans and the project to make its buildings and day-to-day activities carbon neutral by 2011.

The report also notes that 150 fuel-saving suggestions from airlines and NATS staff are being put into practice. It also covers the partnership with the Irish Aviation Authority to create Europe’s first functional airspace block.

NATS’ carbon reduction target is in line with international aspirations. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified potential for cuts in aircraft fuel burn attributed to air traffic management of between six to 12 per cent by 2020. SESAR, the project to harmonise air traffic control across Europe, has set its benchmark of ten per cent by the same year.

For more on what NATS is doing to limit its impact on the environment, please take a look at our Environment section.

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