NATS on track to hit environmental targets

NATS on track to hit environmental targets

30 July 2012

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services and solutions, has released the second quarter of performance data for its world-first environmental flight efficiency metric.

Known as 3Di, the tool is designed to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings over the next three years – the equivalent to 10,000 flights from London to New York. Not only will this help airlines to improve their environmental performance, it will also save them up to £120m at today’s fuel prices.

During its first six months in operation – from January to June – 3Di has achieved an indexed score of 24, as based on the scale set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).  Scores run from 0, which represents zero inefficiency to over 100, with most flights typically in the range between 15 and 35. This means NATS is on course to deliver expected fuel and emissions savings, despite a seasonal increase in air traffic.

3Di has been developed by NATS to help air traffic controllers 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: “We introduced 3Di because we want to deliver a service to airlines that not only helps them save money in difficult economic times, but also improves the environmental performance of the aviation industry.

“As such, it is hugely encouraging to see that we are having a genuine impact and delivering real savings already, despite the seasonal increases in traffic levels.”

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.

NATS’ environmental strategy is based on delivering long term structural improvements to airspace efficiency, as well as focusing on a targeted programme of shorter term operational changes.

During 2011, NATS delivered 26 of these specific changes in order to improve flight profiles and reduce CO2 emissions. This, coupled with a company-wide programme to increase awareness of the need to improve airspace efficiency, will drive improvements resulting in cost and emissions savings for airlines.

For more information on the data and the incentive scheme, please visit our environmental reporting page.

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