Ireland and the UK are leading the way in implementing the Single European Sky initiative, with the completion of the second year of the UK-Ireland functional airspace block (FAB) between the two countries.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and NATS have today jointly published the 2010-13 FAB Plan, which outlines an ambitious and visionary project to integrate North Atlantic, Domestic (Irish/UK) and European traffic flows, establishing even more operational synergy across the airspace of the two countries.
Optimisation of Domestic, North Atlantic and European Traffic (ODNET) has been devised to focus on streamlining the UK-Ireland interface and comprises almost 20 different proposals, grouped geographically, to deliver safety, operational and financial benefits to customers.
The close partnership developed between the IAA and NATS through the UK-Ireland FAB remains at the heart of the Plan, which outlines the FAB’s activities over the next three years.
Donie Mooney, Joint Chairman of the FAB Management Board and Director of Operations for the Irish Aviation Authority, said: “We have been determined to demonstrate a clear vision of what we want our FAB to deliver. This Plan includes a great deal of careful thought around how we can maximise the operational capability of our airspace.”
Ian Hall, Joint Chairman of the FAB Management Board and Operations Strategy & Standards Director for NATS, added: “Our plan sets out a very clear and exciting vision for future operations – to which our staff can commit and our customers can be confident we will deliver. Our Regulators are also keen to see tangible results from the FAB so their support is crucial.”
The UK-Ireland FAB is sponsored by the Irish Department of Transport and the UK Department for Transport and supported by the two countries’ aviation regulators, the IAA and the CAA, which have established their own Performance Group and workplan to monitor the FAB’s progress.
Published in parallel with the FAB Plan is a report charting the work of the FAB teams over the past year.
The UK-Ireland FAB has resulted in the following key achievements in 2009:
- Ensure – creation of a route-free bloc of upper airspace which allows airlines to find their optimum flight paths, generating savings of 14,800 tonnes of fuel and 46,800 tonnes of CO2 in 2009
- Night time fuel saving routes, saving 5,700 tonnes of fuel and 18,100 tonnes of CO2 per year
- P600 – the first joint airspace development in Europe which became operational in May 2009 and which has improved efficiency for flights between Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland
- Creation of 3 working groups responsible for airspace design, safety and service provision
The UK-Ireland FAB, which is a “two countries, no boundaries” agreement, was the culmination of four years’ work by the IAA, NATS, their respective airline and military customers and the two governments to develop their adjoining airspace into one seamless operation.