Enav, the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider introduced, back in 2008, a programme named Flight Efficiency Plan (FEP) consisting in the reconfiguration of the domestic airspace in order to reduce overall flight distances and times with more direct routes and more efficient vertical flight profiles (i.e. the flight paths of aeronautical vehicles on a vertical plane).
In 2016, the FEP alone helped save around 500,000 km of operated flights with a consequent reduction in fuel consumption equal to 2 million kg of fuel saved.
The results of the FEP in 2016 were combined with those achieved with the Free Route programme, which Enav launched last 8 December.
Free Route is an innovative programme implemented by Enav for all overflying aircraft rising to an altitude in excess of 11,000 metres to follow a direct path from an entry to an exit point of the domestic airspace without making reference to the route network.
The impact of Free Route was really amazing. In 24 days only (i.e. from 8 to 31 December), the airlines flying in Italian skies saved around 4 million kg of fuel and covered a distance that was 1 million km shorter.
Enav enabled more than 1,600 aircraft a day to cover shorter routes averaging 25 km less per flight, which also reduced flight time by nearly 1 minute and 45”, meaning a reduced fuel consumption ranging from around 65 Kg of fuel saved for an Airbus 300 to around 390 kg of fuel saved for an Airbus 380 or, in total, 40,000 km saved each day, with a consequent reduction of nearly 162,000 kg of consumed fuel.
Considering the average annual value of jet fuel at 0.74 euros per kg, the efficiencies implemented through FEP and Free Route during 2016 implied overall costs savings to airlines worth 4.4 million euros.
The total fuel cost saved since the FEP start date (2008) is estimated at nearly 100 million euros.
The positive environmental impact was even higher, with 3 kg less of CO2 emissions per single kg saved of the fuel consumed by each aircraft.
This operation was possible through recent theoretical and practical training courses delivered to air traffic controllers, a domestic airspace reorganisation programme and an upgrade of technology systems within the full Enav organisation.