NATS measures the efficiency of an aircraft’s route and trajectory using its three dimensional inefficiency (3Di) metric where each flight is compared to a scale where zero represents total environmental efficiency. Most flights typically score somewhere between 15 and 35.
By providing direct routes, smooth continuous climbs and descents and optimum flight levels, air traffic controllers can help reduce aircraft fuel burn and carbon emissions, thereby earning a low 3Di score.
During the period January to June 2014, NATS was able to achieve a rolling average score of 23.3 against the new tighter year end target of 23 set by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environmental and Community Affairs, commented: “We’ve seen a gradual reduction in 3Di scores so far this year demonstrating that UK airspace efficiency is improving, but we still have more to do to achieve the CAA’s target value by the end of the year.”
“We’re currently focusing on a number of small scale airspace changes, as well as extending the flexible use of airspace with military users and further improvements in continuous descent approaches.”
According to the CAA, achieving the 3Di target will generate 600,000 tonnes of CO2 savings compared to historic levels by the end of 2014, worth over £120 million a year to airlines in fuel savings.