African airlines flying into Europe will benefit from a new pact signed between the International Air Transport Association (AITA) and Europe’s leading air traffic control organisations to cut down on flight takeoff delays.
The new plan is aimed at reducing the amount of fuel wasted by the major airlines as a result of delays in taking off or landing at major airports across Europe, leading to fuel savings estimated to total to about 390 million euros yearly.
AITA Director General Giovanni Bisignani said Wednesday his organisation had signed a three-party pact with a European air traffic controller’s body, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and EUROCONTROL to improve flight efficiency.
The airlines’ body is exploring the possibility of shortening the international navigation routes. In its efforts to achieve this, and has identified adjustments which might shorten most international routes.
The reduction by at least four nautical miles is expected to lead to more fuel savings, equivalent to 20 million euros.
Further savings are expected to be reached following talks underway between civil and military organisations to optimise flight planning.
“The air traffic industry is in a perfect storm of high fuel prices and falling demand,” Bisignani said in a statement made available to PANA on Wednesday.
“Airlines are expected to lose US$5.2 billion this year and up to US$4.1 billion next year,” he added.
The plan comes in addition to the substantial efforts to improve the performance of the European Air Traffic Management Network.
Between 1999 and 2007, while traffic grew 25%, the total delays caused by lack of air traffic control capacity fell by 66%.
At the same time, routes flown were shortened on average by approximately 4 km.
Together these improvements generated 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) savings per year.
“Every drop of fuel saved improves environmental and financial performance. This joint effort by airports, air navigation service providers and airlines will deliver tangible results in a short time frame. It is a leadership example for others to follow,” said Bisignani.