Thu 15 July 2010 – Eurocontrol has released an implementation plan in time for the summer 2010 season that will lead to a reduction in flying distances for air carriers using European airspace of around 20,000 nautical miles each day by the end of the season. This will save carriers 40,000 tonnes of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 140,000 tonnes over a 12-month period. The plan includes 217 packages of airspace changes developed over the past year, each of which will contribute to an improved performance of European Air Traffic Management (ATM). Continuous upgrading of the route network and supporting sectorization in Europe is needed to meet the capacity and flight efficiency needs of air traffic and cater for the changing patterns of traffic flows.
Airspace improvements have to be agreed within a group comprising 43 member states and their air navigation service providers (ANSPs), eight international organization, including airspace users and Eurocontrol. Of the 217 short term proposals, 179 had already been implemented before the end of May with the remainder to be implemented before the end of August.
The short-term improvement process starts with a review of the performance of the ATM system and an assessment of the causes of major bottlenecks at the end of each summer season. Where the shortcoming can be attributed to a deficiency in the airspace organization, proposals to alleviate the problem for the next summer are developed by the member states/ANSPs concerned.
“These short-term improvements to the airspace structure are yet another means to deliver on the actions to save fuel and reduce emissions contained in the Flight Efficiency Plan we signed with CANSO and IATA in September 2008,” said Joe Sultana, Deputy Director - Network Operations Division at Eurocontrol. “The changes will also relieve identified bottlenecks and increase overall network capacity, and represent pan-European agreed solutions demonstrating the commitment of the entire aviation industry to work together to address significant economic and environmental challenges.”
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