Italy's ENAV flight efficiency initiative delivers

Italy’s Free Route programme launched last December generated savings of 4 million kg of fuel and 1 million flown kilometres within just 24 days.

The initiative by ENAV forms part of the air navigation service provider’s Flight Efficiency Plan (FEP) consisting in the reconfiguration of domestic airspace in order to reduce overall flight distances and times with more direct routes and more efficient vertical flight profiles (i.e. the flight paths of aeronautical vehicles on a vertical plane).
In 2016, the FEP alone helped save around 500,000 km of operated flights with a consequent reduction in fuel consumption equal to 2 million kg of fuel saved.
The results of the FEP in 2016 were combined with those achieved with the Free Route programme, which ENAV launched last 8 December.
Free Route is an innovative programme implemented by ENAV for all overflying aircraft rising to an altitude in excess of 11,000 metres to follow a direct path from an entry to an exit point of the domestic airspace without making reference to the route network.
Between 8-31 December, airlines flying over Italian skies saved around 4 million kg of fuel through flying journeys that were 1 million kilometres shorter.
ENAV enabled more than 1,600 aircraft a day to cover shorter routes averaging 25 km less per flight, which also reduced flight time by nearly 1 minute and 45 seconds, meaning a reduced fuel consumption ranging from around 65 kg of fuel saved for an Airbus A300 aircraft to around 390 kg of fuel saved for an Airbus A380 or, in total, 40,000 km saved each day, with a consequent reduction of nearly 162,000 kg of consumed fuel.
Considering the average annual value of jet fuel at €0.74 per kg, the efficiencies implemented through FEP and Free Route during 2016 implied overall costs savings to airlines worth €4.4 million.
The total fuel cost saved since the FEP launch in 2008 is estimated at nearly €100 million.
The positive environmental impact was even higher, with 3 kg less of CO2 emissions per single kg saved of the fuel consumed by each aircraft.
This operation was possible through recent theoretical and practical training courses delivered to air traffic controllers, a domestic airspace reorganisation programme and an upgrade of technology systems within the full ENAV organisation.