Flight efficiency initiative

Making savings through improved flight planning

The Network Manager is playing a pivotal role in making sure that the European ATM system meets the performance targets set for it by the European Commission.

The first performance targets defined at the start of 2012 placed the onus on the air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to meet the new efficiency, capacity and environmental targets. In the two years that have followed, the Network Manager has played an increasingly active role in the process.

The first reference period sets three network-wide targets:

  • average en-route delay (of 0.5 minutes per flight by 2014),
  • improvement in flight efficiency (0.75% each year) and
  • an annual reduction in unit rates.

The Network Manager has taken ownership of the first two. In 2012, we met – and even superseded – the ambitious target of en-route ATFM delay of 0.7 min./flight by hitting 0.63 min./flight.

To tackle flight efficiency targets, 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.

Over the past years, the ANSPs and the Network Manager delivered improvements in airspace managers, well above the targets, that should now be used by the aircraft operators. However, routes remain on average 40 km longer than the “Great Circle”, according to the European Commission.

This makes for extra fuel burn and emissions and has prompted EUROCONTROL to introduce a new initiative with the airlines in 2013: the Flight Efficiency Initiative.


Flight efficiency initiative - making savings through improved flight planning