New data proves NATS is hitting environmental targets

09 May 2012

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services and solutions, today has released findings of the first three operational months of its world-first environmental flight efficiency metric, which is designed to deliver 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings over the next three years, worth up to £120m in today’s fuel prices.

The tool, known as 3Di, was developed by NATS to help air traffic control route flight paths as close to the environmental optimum as possible by accurately measuring the efficiency of each flight in UK airspace.  By extending existing horizontal flight efficiency tracking to include vertical elements, 3Di quantifies the benefits delivered by air traffic controllers through continuous climb departures, cruise levels as requested by airspace users and continuous descents, as well as most direct point-to-point routeings.

During its first three months in operation, 3Di has derived an indexed score of 24, which is exactly the target set to deliver the expected fuel and emissions savings to airlines.  This score is on par for the three-year incentivised performance target agreed by NATS and the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, the CAA.  Under this scheme, NATS stands to be financially rewarded for exceeding the target or penalised for failing to deliver the expected efficiency gains.

“After three years in development, the adoption of our 3Di tool has been seamless and it is even more encouraging to see that it is delivering savings at the targeted level already,” said Ian Jopson, Head of Environmental Affairs, NATS. “There is a long way to go to meet our three-year target across increasing traffic volumes and seasonal traffic peaks, but this is a really good start and our customers have welcomed the value it adds to their operational and financial performance.”

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

For more information on the data and the incentive scheme, please visit:

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