Free Route Airspace reduces fuel burn and CO2 emission for Scandinavian ANSPs

Free Route Airspace (FRA) was launched by Danish Naviair and Swedish LFV air navigation service providers on 17 November.
The concept is a direct result of the air traffic management cooperation in the unified Danish-Swedish airspace – the DK/SE Functional Airspace Block (FAB) that was established in October 2009.
With Free Route Airspace, airliners and pilots will be able to plan a direct flight route through the Danish-Swedish airspace. Theoretical calculations based on Eurocontrol´s standard models show that the concept will give a total fuel saving of approximately 13,800 ton a year thus reducing CO2 emission by approximately 43,600 ton.
This equals the average annual emission from approximately 31,210 cars. In addition other greenhouse gases will also be reduced.
Calculations by Naviair and LFV show that the concept correspond to an average saving of 1.3 % (fuel and flying time) for the airliners that operate in Danish and Swedish airspace.
Already before the implementation of Free Route Airspace, most aircraft have in fact been given the shortest distance over Denmark and Sweden whenever possible, but until now the airliners have been obliged to plan their flight routes according to the published fixed air routes. Consequently, the aircraft had to carry extra fuel. With the new concept, the aircraft can depart with a little less fuel on board, and the reduced weight thus leads to reduced fuel consumption during the flight.
Although the saving on each flight is relatively small, the total saving with approximately 950,000 flights each year becomes quite substantial with consequent positive environmental effects. Furthermore, the calculations show that airliners will save almost 7,500 flight hours per year compared to the flying time of the flight plans.
While pilots can plan for a direct flight route, it is still Naviair and LFV that provides the Air Navigation Services and ensures a maximum flight safety level in the Danish-Swedish FAB.
During 2012, the co-owned company NUAC (Nordic Unified Air Traffic Control) will take over responsibility of en route Air Navigation Service provision from the three control centres in Copenhagen, Malmö, and Stockholm.
Free Route Airspace has been successfully implemented in Portuguese and Irish airspace and to a certain extend also in the airspace over Holland and Belgium.