|The Free Route Airspace Maastricht and Karlsruhe project spanning the airspace over Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Photo: Eurocontrol
[Avionics Today 10-09-2015] With the number of aircraft being piloted through European airspace jumping from 6 million to 9 million annually in just 10 years, Eurocontrol is pushing for sustainable aviation solutions to support this and future growth. The organization is also pointing to one such successful project, the Free Route Airspace (FRA) initiative, which is saving tons of emissions and fuel.
The aviation industry is responsible for 2.42 percent of worldwide CO2 emissions. With projects such as the FRA initiative in place limiting the amount of emissions aviation contributes going forward, Eurocontrol is looking to projects such as this to reduce aviation’s impact on climate change.
The FRA Maastricht and Karlsruhe project spanning the airspace over Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands project offers a network of 466 cross-border direct route options. Using these routes, airlines can benefit from an annual reduction of route length of 1.5 million nautical miles, which corresponds to a reduction of 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Up to 80 percent of aircraft that can fly the direct routes actually use them. With these routes, airlines can plan more efficiently, less fuel has to be taken on board, and there are fewer deviations from flight plans.
The German air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung established the network in 2014 in partnership with Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and Lufthansa. The project was co-funded by the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU).