Sustainable Aviation writes to David Cameron highlighting the importance of airspace modernisation
- UK airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and aerospace manufacturers write to David Cameron to highlight the importance of airspace modernisation to the UK economy
- The letter states that without modernisation, delays to passengers could increase to 50 times what they are today
- Sustainable Aviation calls on the Government to give airspace infrastructure the same priority as the rollout of superfast broadband
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Sustainable Aviation, the collective approach of UK aviation to tackling the challenge of ensuring a sustainable future for aviation, outlined the need to modernise the UK’s airspace structures which have changed little since the 1960s. With no improvement, flight delays are likely to soar to 50 times what they are today, creating unnecessary additional noise and CO2 emissions as well as costing airlines over £1 billion per year, which is not good for the environment, local communities or the UK economy.
To avoid this, the UK aviation industry is committed to finding new, innovative and fair ways to modernise our airspace, and in this regard Sustainable Aviation also calls on the Government to consider major airspace change as a national infrastructure project with the same priority as the rollout of superfast broadband. Both will have significant economic benefits for the UK and encourage growth.
Modernised airspace will enable emissions and noise levels to be reduced by making greater use of innovative techniques such as continuous climbs and descents, reduced holding, and the implementation of multiple alternative routes.
During the last 10 years the industry’s commitment through Sustainable Aviation has delivered a reduction of over 20 million tonnes of CO2 by UK aviation. Over the same period, a 14% reduction in noise contour areas (used by the Government to assess community annoyance) has been achieved through a number of means such as the introduction of new engine and aircraft technologies and operational improvements.
Ian Jopson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation and Head of Environment and Community Affairs at NATS said:
“Aviation is a UK success story and is vitally important to the UK economy. Sustainable Aviation is committed to delivering a sustainable future for our industry. We have seen significant technological advances in the performance of aircraft with the introduction of the Airbus A350 XWB and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and innovative procedures at airports to reduce noise and CO2 emissions. However, our airspace has not kept pace and is now in urgent need of modernisation.
“If you imagine the motorway network of the 1960s trying to cope with today’s road traffic levels, you will realise the level of delay that motorists would experience. That is increasingly what we face with our airspace system, whose structures have remained little changed since the 1960s. That is not good for passengers, nor is it good for the environment or local communities.
“We will be able us to reduce emissions and noise by making greater use of techniques such as continuous climbs and descents, reduced holding, and implement multiple alternative routes, which can help minimise noise and meet environmental targets whilst continuing to deliver for the UK economy. We recognise that change must be carefully considered and that the views of local communities must be an integral and fundamental part of the process.”