UK, Ireland double savings for airspace clients

The UK-Ireland Functional Airspace Block is achieving more than double the savings it targeted when it went operational in 2008 under Single European Sky rules.
A functional airspace block, or FAB, is a sector of airspace covering more than one country which is operated and managed as a single unit.
The latest review of benefits from the UK-Ireland FAB, shows that it enabled customer savings totalling €24.5m during 2011, including 24,000 tonnes of fuel worth €17.8m and €6.7m of non-fuel costs such as reduced maintenance and crew costs.
The original target set in 2008 was for €12m in annual savings by 2013.
The savings are outlined in a rigorous Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) conducted last year, which is one of the key documents submitted by the Irish and UK Governments to confirm the UK-Ireland FAB’s compliance with the European Commission’s FAB requirements. The methodology of the CBA was independently reviewed by KPMG.
Expected savings for 2012 are estimated by the two countries at well over €26m including 25,000 tonnes of fuel worth nearly €19m. By comparison, the costs of running the FAB are only €3m. In 2011, the costs were just €2m.
Both Governments draw attention to the CBA and also to the successful development of a UK-Ireland FAB Safety Case to ensure enhanced safety through operational integration, and highlights the FAB’s work to ensure ‘a special focus on providing added value, tangible benefits and improvements in service to its many global airspace users’.
“The FAB is demonstrating its value to our customers and we are very clear that the benefits are being delivered more quickly and efficiently than would be the case without the FAB in place,” said Richard Deakin, chief executive of NATS, the UK air navigation service provider. “The EC showed great foresight in establishing the FAB concept to help neighbouring ANSPs work more cohesively to achieve economies of scale and better service for customers, and our FAB clearly demonstrates that.”
Eamonn Brennan, chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority added: “The fact that the UK-Ireland FAB is so far advanced is testament to the strong working relationship we already had, but in terms of customer involvement the FAB has helped us deliver earlier results than would otherwise be the case.
“We’re successful because we put in place a robust governance structure and strong project planning and reporting processes.”
In the four years since the UK-Ireland FAB was established, it has delivered more than 30 joint projects, saving airlines around €43.5m in fuel and operational performance. Projected out to 2020, the FAB is expected to be delivering around €36m in annual savings. Cumulative savings will total almost €350m, including 330,000 tonnes of fuel and more than one billion tones of CO2.