Operational efficiency

Efficiencies gained through improvements to operational practices can make a big difference


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates up to 18% of all aviation fuel is wasted as a result of inefficient infrastructure and operations. This equates to more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. And much of it could be avoided.

Many small initiatives

At every step of a plane’s operations there are actions that can reduce its fuel burn and consequently its emissions.

Airlines are saving fuel through more efficient procedures and weight reduction measures. These can range from ensuring the plane’s engines are clean to developing and using alternative fuels. The InternationaI Air Transport Assocation’s (IATA) ‘green teams’ visit airlines to evaluate possible efficiencies and the result in savings have been between 2% and 15% at each airline.

Paris Airport - control towerThe control tower at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.  Some airlines taxi to the runway on one engine instead of using two. Air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are creating shorter routes, resulting in faster flight times and less fuel burn.

In the air

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that air traffic management has influence over 6% -12% of aviation emissions mainly due to inefficiencies in the route network. Numerous projects have been started across the world to reduce these inefficiencies as far as possible – for instance, creating a Single European Sky will reduce fuel burn by 10% per flight. AIRE and ASPIRE are two programmes aimed at increasing efficiency across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively. Individual air traffic control organisations are implementing measures to increase efficiency both en-route and in the congested airspace around many airports.

Currently, many flights are not able to go directly from their take-off point to the destination, having to zig-zag around national borders, different air traffic control organisations and around military airspace.


Find out more about the efficiencies gained by infrastructure improvements »

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