NATS reports 800,000 tonnes of carbon savings over five years since launching its environmental programme
Tue 28 May 2013 – Since NATS became the first air traffic control service in the world to set fuel efficiency and emissions reduction targets in 2008, the UK’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) has reported 800,000 tonnes of CO2 have been saved over the five-year period. This represents a reduction in the order of 250,000 tonnes in fuel burnt by aircraft under its management and saving airlines around £160 million ($242m) in fuel costs. NATS has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 per cent per flight by 2020 and has accelerated plans to deliver a 4 per cent CO2 target per flight by 2014. Since 2008, the company has pioneered a number of practical and technological changes designed to optimise airspace and aircraft performance. Last year NATS introduced the 3Di airspace efficiency metric that allows it to measure the environmental efficiency of every aircraft under its control.
Accomplishments over the past year include fuel savings of 6,926 tonnes of fuel, valued at £4.5 million ($6.8m), and representing around 22,000 tonnes of CO2. Other achievements include a flight profile monitor trial at Edinburgh Airport that resulted in 20% better aircraft descent profiles, an innovative night noise respite trial at Heathrow and the start of the Topflight project that will see trials to optimise flights between North America and Europe.
NATS has also introduced iFACTS, a next generation air traffic control tool that gives controllers a view of the future track and trajectory of the aircraft under their control so they can optimise routes for fuel and emissions savings.
Based on the 3Di metric, in 2012 NATS became the first air traffic company in the world to be financially incentivised on its environmental performance (see article) and reports that it successfully met its first-year target.
“We have made great progress over the past five years, but as we celebrate these successes we must also look to the future,” commented Ian Jopson, Head of Environment and Community Affairs at NATS. “Our work towards delivering the next generation of air traffic management infrastructure, tools and operating concepts will provide a step change in our environmental performance, but this work needs investment and against a backdrop of economic pressures we will need to innovate to continue delivering.”
On the ground, NATS reports the energy usage in its properties has dropped by 29% since 2006, saving around £2.7 million ($4.1m) per year, and 69% of waste was recycled in 2012.