UK-Ireland FAB doubles forecast savings for customers

02 April 2012

The UK-Ireland FAB is achieving more than double the savings targeted when it became the first operational FAB in 2008.

The latest review of benefits from the UK-Ireland FAB, shows enabled customer savings totalling €24.5m during 2011, including 24,000 tonnes of fuel worth €17.8m and €6.7m of non-fuel costs such as reduced maintenance and crew costs.

The original target set in 2008 was for €12m in annual savings by 2013.

The savings are outlined in a rigorous Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) conducted last year, which is one of the key documents submitted (this week) by the Irish and UK Governments to confirm the UK-Ireland FAB’s compliance with the European Commission’s FAB requirements. Importantly, the methodology of the CBA was independently reviewed by KPMG.

The UK-Ireland FAB is delivering significant added value to airline customers, at minimal cost. Expected savings for 2012 are estimated at well over €26m including 25,000 tonnes of fuel worth nearly €19m. By comparison, the costs of running the FAB are only €3m. In 2011, the costs were just €2m.

Both Governments draw attention to the CBA and also to the successful development of a UK-Ireland FAB Safety Case to ensure enhanced safety through operational integration, and highlights the FAB’s work to ensure “a special focus on providing added value, tangible benefits and improvements in service to its many global airspace users”.

Richard Deakin, Chief Executive of NATS, said: “The FAB is demonstrating its value to our customers and we are very clear that the benefits are being delivered more quickly and efficiently than would be the case without the FAB in place.

“The EC showed great foresight in establishing the FAB concept to help neighbouring ANSPs work more cohesively to achieve economies of scale and better service for customers, and our FAB clearly demonstrates that.”

Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive of the IAA, said: “The fact that the UK-Ireland FAB is so far advanced is testament to the strong working relationship we already had, but in terms of customer involvement the FAB has helped us deliver earlier results than would otherwise be the case.

“We’re successful because we put in place a robust governance structure and strong project planning and reporting processes.”

In the four years since the UK-Ireland FAB was established, it has delivered more than 30 joint projects, saving airlines around €43.5m in fuel and operational performance. Projected out to 2020, the FAB is expected to be delivering around €36m in annual savings. Cumulative savings will total almost €350m, including 330,000 tonnes of fuel and more than one billion kilos of CO2.

More information

• The European Commission Single European Sky (SES) rules require States to establish Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) by the 4th December 2012. FABS are established at State level. Compliance evidence is required by the EC by the 24th June 2012.
• The Framework Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009, defines a FAB as ‘an airspace block based on operational requirements and established regardless of State boundaries, where the provision of air navigation services and related functions are performance-driven and optimised with a view to introducing, in each functional airspace block, enhanced cooperation among air navigation service providers or, where appropriate, an integrated provider’ ’
• The UK-Ireland FAB was established by the UK and Irish Governments in June 2008 and governance is provided by a FAB Supervisory Committee which includes the national regulatory authorities and the Military of both countries. Day to day management is overseen by a FAB Management Board co-chaired by the IAA and NATS which also includes Military and Airline representatives.
• The UK-Ireland FAB is an “operationally-driven” FAB with the primary objective of delivering operational efficiency to airspace users, generating pass-through cost savings as a result of reduced fuel-burn and CO2 emissions.
• The FAB is developing incrementally through a “design and build” approach on a partnership basis between the ANSPs, airlines, military and staff, and supported by the coordinated work of the Irish and UK NSAs.
The FAB focuses on four key areas;

  • Airspace Design (long-term strategic developments)
  • Service Provision (operational / day-to-day developments)
  • Safety (harmonisation of our approach to safety)
  • Technology (collaboration and SESAR alignment)

• One of the core functions of the UK-Ireland FAB is to ensure the successful integration of traffic flows between the North Atlantic (NAT), domestic UK-Ireland, and core European area traffic.
• The FAB covers the airspace in the Shannon, London and Scottish FIRs, the Northern Oceanic Transition Areas (NOTA) and the Shannon Oceanic Transition Area (SOTA), controlled by the IAA and NATS.

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