12 JANUARY 2015


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Article from BTNews 12 JANUARY 2015

Heathrow air traffic

A trial to cut the amount of time aircraft spend circling in ‘holding stacks’ at Heathrow Airport has started to reap rewards.

Led by air traffic services provider NATS, in collaboration with the European air traffic coordinator FABEC and Heathrow Airport, the trial has the overall aim of cutting average holding times by a quarter from the current time of eight minutes.

Since April 2014, NATS has recorded a reduction of up to a minute in holding times for those flights influenced by the trial, saving airlines around £1m in fuel and 5,000 tonnes of CO2, as well as reducing noise for communities underneath the stacks.

The trial has seen controllers in the UK, France, Ireland and the Netherlands working in partnership to slow aircraft down up to 350 miles away from London in order to minimise holding times on arrival.

Martin Rolfe, Managing Director, NATS Operations, said: “Taking 60 seconds out of holding for trial influenced aircraft may not seem a lot, but it is a significant achievement and equates to serious savings for our airline customers while proving that this kind of cross border cooperation can reap real benefits.  The next steps involve us taking what we’ve learnt so far and improving and refining our procedures for even greater results.”   www.nats.aero

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