Flight Efficiency Initiative wins a Jane’s Award at the World ATM Congress

5 March 2014

Brussels, Belgium – EUROCONTROL and Thomas Cook Airlines in the UK are delighted to announce that the Flight Efficiency Initiative has been honoured with a Jane’s Award in the Environment Category.

The Network Manager launched the Flight Efficiency Initiative to help hard-pressed airspace users find the best route possible on the day of operation. Using the “opportunity tool” to choose their optimal route, users can make significant savings in fuel and time – and this naturally benefits the environment as well.

Thomas Cook Airlines UK partnered with EUROCONTROL in the initial development and implementation of the initiative. The airline also validated the system so that it delivered distinct operational and financial benefits.

“The real advantage that the opportunity tool brings is that it comes up with better routes, based on real-time operations. It clearly highlights when better options are available,” explained Chris Woodland, Air Traffic Services Manager, Thomas Cook Airlines. “This makes for real savings and the Jane’s Award is fantastic recognition of the work that has been done.”

The tool uses a variety of sources in formulating its selections: the availability of Conditional Routes (through airspace made temporarily available by the military), changes in estimated off-block times, direct night flights.

It has a dynamic route generator and an automatically maintained catalogue of flown routes. The routes are evaluated according to criteria supplied by the airline: flying time costs, fuel costs and the cost of air traffic flow and capacity delay.

Through its far-reaching and precise knowledge of route network capacity, the Network Manager is ideally placed to promote flight efficiency. It has access to the most recent weather reports, the latest updates on the air traffic flow and capacity situation – last minute opening and closure of military routes, for instance – as well as information on airspace users’ flight planning policies and operating procedures. As operational improvements emerge, re-routeing proposals are published and flight plans can be adapted to make use of them.

Malcolm Sutherland, Thomas Cook Airlines Operations Director, observed: “Thomas Cook Airlines was delighted to partner EUROCONTROL in delivering the major environmental, operational and commercial benefits this initiative has shown. The partnership brought two centres of excellence together for the benefit of the entire European aviation industry, particularly in the ever-increasingly important area of sustainability.”

Joe Sultana, EUROCONTROL’s Director Network Manager, is confident in NM’s capability to provide “a network of options”.

Appealing to airspace users and air navigation service providers, he said: “We know the network so we can make a difference for you. You need to help us, too, to make sure the options we offer are the most relevant to your operations.”

“The Flight Efficiency Initiative helps all of achieve our performance targets,” Joe Sultana observed. “It will be successful if all of our operational partners appreciate the fact that they are an integral part of the network, too. Together, we will make another important step towards the goal of the Single European Sky – making European airspace the most efficient region in terms of air traffic management.”

All airlines are welcome to take part in the initiative, free of charge. Since its launch, over 40 airlines have joined up.

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