24/7 cross border free route operations go live over Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania

Aircraft can now fly in Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian airspace on the shortest routes without restrictions around the clock, seven days a day.

The November 7 launch represents the latest in the free route airspace concept which will further reduce the environmental footprint of aviation.

The SEE (South East Europe Free Route Airspace) FRA project was developed in accordance with European regulations which direct the country’s individual providers to cooperate towards introducing the Free Route Airspace above FL300 (9,000m) throughout Europe by the end of 2021.

Hungarocontrol launched its HUFRA (Hungarian Free Route Airspace) project in 2015, allowing aircraft to fly the shortest possible route through its airspace, managing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of one million times the amount of pollution generated on one of the world’s longest flights (Auckland-Doha).

This traffic management concept has been used for many years in the night airspace of Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, in cooperation with the Hungarian air navigation service provider through the precursor SEEN FRA (South-East Night Free Route Airspace) project.

As a future step Slovakia, as a part of SEEN FRA project together with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, will assess the opportunities to join the SEE FRA airspace as 24/7 free route operations are already implemented within Slovakian airspace,

According to preliminary estimates, the current SEE FRA could reduce the number of overflight routes by an average of nearly 20,000 kilometres each day, resulting in 70 tonnes of daily fuel savings, 220 tonnes less carbon dioxide emissions and 23 hours less flight time.