NATS, the UKs leading provider of air traffic services, is planning to cut in half the amount of CO2 emitted by aircraft waiting to land at the UKs busiest airports.
As much as 300,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved by aircraft joining the arrival sequence earlier and slowing down their approach to Londons airports - equivalent to 2,000 jumbo jet-loads of fuel* a year. In the busiest morning rush-hour alone, it could save 100 jumbo jets worth of fuel a year. Using a new planning tool called Arrival Manager, developed by technology company Barco and adapted by NATS, controllers can, potentially, cut in half the time aircraft spend in holding points over the London airports. Each year, 1.4m aircraft fly through this airspace, known as the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area. Chief Executive Paul Barron said: This is a really exciting development. Its good for the airlines, which save fuel and, therefore, money and its a healthy step to reducing our environmental impact. Integrating something like this into one of the busiest and most complex airspace sectors in the world was always going to be a challenge but it means that were able to deliver more efficiency for our customers and work towards this projected environmental saving. We are determined to introduce improvements as quickly as possible as part of our long-term environmental plan. This is just the beginning as weve set ambitious targets through our operations and will continue to introduce better ways of working and other new tools to help us if we can see there is an environmental benefit. Over time, staff at every level of the operation will be able to view the aircraft sequence and make earlier, better-informed decisions to ensure the best possible flow of air traffic from airport to airport. The innovation is part of a wider commitment by NATS to reduce by, on average, ten per cent per flight the ATM CO2 emitted by aircraft under its control by 2020; set against a baseline of 2006. It has also pledged that its estate will be carbon-neutral by 2011. Heathrow and Gatwick will be included in the first phase of the project, which comes into operation early next year. It will then be extended to London City, Luton and Stansted.