The Customer Initiative addresses flight trajectory inefficiency, offers coordinated tactical directs or higher cruising levels, or arranges exceptional non-standard routings and profiles for priority and critical flights in support of aircraft operators’ operations and fleet management. Priority and critical flights are related to EU 261 incidences, airport curfews, crew hour limitations, rotation problems, delays with a high financial impact, passenger and freight connections, or schedule disruptions and the associated network shock wave. The focus is on achieving high-value results, in particular by proposing the best possible flight planning options, which might not be detected by flight planning software, and by guaranteeing on-time arrival.
The 2021 Customer Initiative trial, which took place from 15 September to 15 November 2021 in the airspace of Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and the UK, revealed encouraging results and the feasibility of offering enhanced customer services on a permanent basis in Maastricht Upper Area Centre (MUAC) airspace and in the airspace of the participating FABEC and UK/Ireland control centres.
The measurable results reveal that for a total of 1,686 flights which benefited from the service, the savings achieved amounted to:
- 177,000 kg of fuel;
- 556,000 kg of CO2;
- 6,842 nautical miles;
- 9,778 minutes (equating to €977,000 saved on the basis of the economic value of 100€/minute); and
- €3,923 in route charges.
In addition to the measureable benefits, other non-quantitative improvements were identified. For example, the trial demonstrated that the processes and the tools used worked smoothly and effectively for the partners. Thanks to the supporting technical solutions (the ATM portal and pre-flight check human-machine interface), the participating operational units were in a position to easily identify and propose flight improvements to the aircraft operators. The operational units involved in the pre-flight check process were in a position to unlock the full benefits of improved flight profiles, RAD (profile restriction) override, deviations from letters of agreement, air traffic flow management (ATFM) regulation delay handing, priority flight handing and critical flight care.