Flight Efficiency Initiative

Improved flight planning and savings in fuel, miles and time

The Flight Efficiency Initiative (FEI) aims at offering aircraft operators the most efficient routes on the day of operation. It entails scrutinising their flight plans and seeing if there is not a quicker or more cost-effective way for their aircraft to fly.

The FEI operates on the basis of a dynamic route generator and an automatically maintained catalogue of routes flown in the past. The routes are evaluated on the basis of subjective cost criteria provided by the airline operators, such as:

  • flying time costs,
  • fuel costs and the cost of air traffic flow
  • and capacity management (ATFCM) delays.

Aircraft operators and the Network Manager have worked closely together in the initial implementation phases and the results confirm that environmental, operational and financial benefits are possible.

The re-routing process 

The FEI re-routing process can take place up to two hours before the flight. It takes place as follows:


Comparison of flight plans

An interactive tool (known as the DDR interface) allows all aircraft operators (AOs) and computerized flight plan service providers (CFSPs) to compare their flight plans with the best filed flight plan accepted by the integrated initial flight plan processing system (IFPS) in the last Aeronautical Information Regulation and Control (AIRAC) cycle for a given city pair.

This tool displays flights between a busy city pair (without naming specific flights) and shows the plans which used the shortest routes and those which required additional miles to be flown.  It can assess individual flight plans or detect network performance developments taking into account that the European airspace network benefits from a significant level of dynamism through the application of the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) concept, under which the military release airspace to civil aviation.

Conditional routes (CDRs), established in military areas, are also regularly made available on the day before operations (D-1) and on the day of operations. Increased awareness of the availability of CDRs helps operators to better exploit their flight planning options and so fly shorter routes.


Re-routing proposals to AOs

The IFPS staff carry out a network impact assessment to help find the best opportunities, via a screening of the complete IFPS valid flight plan database. They assess these opportunities and if they are found acceptable from an operational point of view, they submit them to the airline concerned by re-routing proposal message (RRP), identifiable via the comment line: purpose if flight efficiency.

They use the so called Route Opportunity Tool to re-compute flight plans after they have been filed via the IFPS, taking into consideration certain cost criteria information provided by aircraft operators. The latest ATFCM situation and weather (wind) data are also included in the assessment.

They run the tool 6 times a day in order to extract all the flight plans which could potentially benefit from a better route. The list of those flight plans identified by the tool are then scrutinised by the IFPS staff to see which aircraft operators can benefit on which route.



The FEI allows potential savings, thereby achieving a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and also bringing environmental gains.

The overall potential operational savings correspond to 20-25,000 nautical miles a day.   The airlines accept up to 15% of the proposals. There are over 100 of them regularly doing so, 40 of whom are among the top airlines operating in Europe (in terms of volume).  In 2014, thanks to the FEI, we were able to save 32,644 minutes and 375,000 kilometres.

The FEI also contributes to a strategic and continuous improvement of the airline operators’ route catalogue.


How we help

Thanks to the 'Network Manager's' overview and dynamic knowledge of the route network capacity (and other key information such as the aircraft operators’ up-to-date flight planning policies and operating procedures), we are able to make proposals for ensuring the most dynamic and efficient possible use of the network.

The Initiative includes flight efficiency procedures and functionalities which are implemented as part of the Network Manager’s operational systems supporting the automatic processing of re-routing proposals for airspace users.

In order to tackle the flight efficiency target, we developed the En-Route Network Improvement Plan, which reflects those airspace design improvements planned to bring routes closer to the optimum “great circle” route and to reduce extended flight paths.



A wide range of training services and products is available in classroom format or through e-learning.

  • Flight Efficiency – Re-routing & Fuel costs: aircraft operators face many challenges, including highly competitive and deregulated aviation markets, unstable fuel prices and environmental constraints. Both ANSPs and Aircraft Operators (AOs) have to improve the way they operate to ensure the sustainable growth of aviation while respecting the environment. Flight efficiency has a significant economic and environmental impact and so is a key component in the sustainable growth goal.
  • Airspace Organisation and Management: this course explains the current organisation and management of European airspace. Future plans and initiatives – both within the Single European Sky/SESAR framework and EUROCONTROL – are also covered. In addition, the course contains a number of presentations made by airspace users on their operations and particular airspace requirements.

Flight Efficiency Team

96, rue de la Fusée
1130 Brussels