Perhaps sustainability doesn’t immediately spring to mind when you think about aviation, but at NATS we are well aware that the environment and local communities are central to our business. Our long-term success depends on us working sustainably, so we consider the environmental impact of everything we do.

We are working continuously to find new ways of reducing aviation’s carbon emissions as well as minimising our own use of the world’s resources. Excess use of fuel harms the environment, as well as being very expensive for customers, so there is a real motivation to make improvements wherever possible.

Our primary environmental objective is to reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 10% per flight by 2020 (compared to 2006), and we have a challenging programme in place to deliver an interim 4% reduction by the end of 2014. Having developed techniques to monitor environmental performance daily, monthly and annually, we are able to track our progress in fine detail, see where further improvements can be made and implement any possible changes.

Managing Airspace Efficiently

NATS are currently working on two major airspace projects: the London Airspace Management Programme and the Northern Terminal Control Area redesign. These projects will modernise airspace around London and major cities in northern England, where traffic levels are highest and among the most complex in the world. Such initiatives will enable us to manage the airspace more efficiently, significantly reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

Since our programme begun we have enabled 250,000 tonnes of fuel burn savings for our airline customers, that’s 800,000 tonnes of CO2 and £160m of fuel cost savings.

Award- Winning Innovation

NATS are always investing in the development of new tools and navigational techniques, in order to gain the biggest fuel savings.

iFACTS helps to save on fuel and emissions, as controllers are able to allocate flights more closely to their fuel optimum levels, stream traffic more efficiently and reduce excess mileage.

3D inefficiency score (3Di) is an incentivised flight efficiency measurement, which supports NATS target to reduce excess use of fuel. There is no equivalent measurement for air traffic management environmental performance anywhere in the world.

The NATS Flight Profile Monitor tool tracks aircraft performance in any phase of flight from ground to cruise, determining where and why there is inefficiency, which enables NATS to pinpoint where solutions can make a real difference.

Environmentally Aware Employees

As well as reducing the environmental impact of aviation, we are also working hard to minimise the carbon footprint of everything we do. This includes saving energy and water, recycling and reducing waste and reducing the impact of our employees’ commuting.

We have reduced our commuting footprint by 25% since 2008 through the implementation of a range of sustainable travel initiatives, including our low emissions car scheme, one of the most successful in the UK, and our cycle scheme which has 15% of staff now cycling to work.

Since 2006 we have reduced our use of energy by 29% and water by 45%.
95% of the energy we use now comes from renewable sources.

Cutting waste and energy consumption whilst increasing reuse and recycling helps to save money, as well as reducing our carbon footprint and preserving natural resources.

From our products and services to the way we approach our Acting Responsibly corporate responsibility programme, we are leading the charge when it comes to the sustainable growth of the aviation industry.

To find out more see our latest Corporate Responsibility Report or visit


Watch our three minute video below, where Ian explains what we’re doing within our Corporate Responsibility Program.


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Keith. Peers

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