Next week I’ll be in Geneva for CANSO Airspace World. It’s always a great event and an excellent chance to hear international perspectives on some of the big issues facing our industry.

I’m sure sustainability will be one of those hot topics. It always is. And I’ve no doubt there will be plenty of interesting discussion, but the question that always weighs heavily on my mind is whether we’ll see any commitment to meaningful action.

And the time for action is rapidly running out. The truth is aviation could be responsible for 22% of global emissions by 2050 and our social license to operate is seriously under threat from a public that is demanding visible, demonstrable change.

Now I know there is a lot of good work already being done across the industry. My worry is that it simply isn’t enough, nor is it always consistent or aligned across international borders. Our industry – including Air Traffic Management – must recognise and address our environmental impact and take action on a global scale. We need radical transparency and aligned priorities and practices.

And ATM has an opportunity to show leadership here. Almost every commercial flight in the world will be under the watch of an ANSP and we can take steps today to ensure each of those is flying the most efficient and environmentally friendly route and trajectory possible. At NATS, we’re proud to have helped avoid over 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by improving airspace design since 2008, but we recognise that is still nowhere near enough.

Part of the problem is knowing what and how to measure in terms of airspace and ATM efficiency, but the truth is the most important metric is the one that enables someone to take meaningful action and to understand the impact. We can’t afford to wait for the perfect metric – we need to embrace what we have available and act now.

That’s why I’m very excited to be able to share something new with the ATM community in Geneva next week – our concept for Green Aviation Insights or GAIN – an offer from NATS to help create the world’s first truly global index of airspace efficiency.

Such a tool – underpinned by 3Di, our unique three-dimensional airspace efficiency algorithm, – could help support the adoption of a universally consistent and meaningful set of metrics, calculated daily from operational flight data, airspace configuration and contextual information such as staffing, regulations and weather.

We’re talking about the creation of a global environmental insight, benchmarking and collaboration platform to help every ANSP and their stakeholders to better understand the environmental impact and opportunities within their operation. We believe this could be a game-changer for ANSPs looking to monitor trends, identify hotspots and track the impact of their environmental initiatives.

I’ll be sharing more details on this plan next week as well as inviting ANSPs around the world to work with us on making it a reality.

Anyone interested in delivering the radical transparency and aligned priorities and practices our industry needs in order to continue to take real, meaningful action against climate change, is welcome to join us.

Nick will be presenting at CANSO Airspace World on 19 March at 10.30 in the Boeing Theatre.

Register your interest to find out more about Green Aviation Insights.


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