NATS reports record environmental savings
More efficient air traffic control procedures, innovative new technologies and the better use of airspace saved a record breaking 190,000 tonnes of aircraft CO2 last year, according to NATS.
The savings equate to cutting £38m from airline fuel bills.
The figures emerged as the UK based air traffic management company published its corporate responsibility report, charting its progress during 2013 in reducing the environmental impact of aviation and cutting airline fuel costs.
In 2008, NATS became the first air traffic management provider in the world to set itself targets on environmental performance. Since then it has worked with the rest of the industry to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
Providing continuous climbs and descents and direct routes all help aircraft save fuel and reduce emissions. Last year NATS introduced 75 changes to airspace and procedures to allow for more efficient journeys, while new departure routes were introduced to allow aircraft to climb higher more smoothly. The NATS led TOPFLIGHT project also pioneered optimised transatlantic operations, saving up to half a tonne of fuel every flight.
NATS has also been awarded the Business In The Community Big Tick in the Sustainable Products and Services category for its 3Di tool that measures the environmental efficiency of an aircraft’s route and trajectory.
Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environmental and Community Affairs, said: “This is our best year yet in terms of CO2 and fuel savings. It means that since 2006 we’ve cumulatively saved £270m worth of fuel for our airline customers, but we’ve still got more work to do.
“Our overall goal is a globally sustainable aviation industry, in a business and an environmental sense. We have a near term target to cut 4% off ATM related CO2 per-flight by the end of this year. We’re just over half way there and are now going all out to achieve the rest.”
As well as savings in UK skies, NATS also made progress in minimising its own environmental footprint. Just 4% of the company’s waste now goes to landfill, while its water use has halved since 2006, saving 40 million litres a year – the equivalent of 15 Olympic sizes swimming pools.
Beyond its immediate 4% target, NATS’ longer term aim is to cut 10% of CO2 emissions per-flight by 2020.
Martin Rolfe, NATS Managing Director Operations, added: “This is a real success story, not just for NATS but for the wider industry. It demonstrates the added value we’re able to offer our customers and that environmental savings can go hand in hand with exceptional safety and delay performance.”