The briefing on the Free Route Airspace program

The news, views and numbers you need to know this month

The briefing on connected aviation

The news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in numbers


with projects beginning in 2014, FRA allows airspace users to fly a preferred trajectory between a defined entry and exit point


The European Commission has a deadline of 2022 for implementing FRA Europe-wide above Flight Level 305

50 years

FRA will make it possible to meet the demands of future airspace users over the next 50 years


Portugal was the first country to introduce full free route airspace in 2009


Flying distances can be drastically reduced, resulting in 45,000 tons of fuel saved


Since its inception, the scheme saved airspace users an estimated €500m in fuel costs alone

In quotes

Razvan Bucuroiu, EUROCONTROL’s Head of Network Strategy and Development in the Network Manager Directorate:

We developed a template for free route airspace developments, with a checklist of actions that kicks off 36 months before the implementation of a free route airspace project. Among other things, we also start the airspace design, conduct validations, draw up military requirements and check aeronautical information publications.

Top stories

HungaroControl was presented with the Innovation Award 2018 for its new traffic management concept and free airspace usage. Due to the free usage of airspace, which requires an increasingly complex effort by controllers, planes may fly through Hungarian airspace using the shortest possible route, resulting in decreasing fuel consumption and harmful emissions.

Source: Budapest Business Journal

The South East Europe Night Free Route Airspace (SEEN FRA) was enlarged on 6 December 2018 to include Slovakia’s airspace for night-time flights. From April 2019, Slovakia plans to allow FRA in its airspace for a longer period of the day.

Source: Eurocontrol

ENAV (the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have presented the first edition of the Italian National Airspace Strategy. The strategy includes a range of initiatives on airspace modernisation jointly agreed by key air transport participants. This will ensure continuous evolution of the Italian aviation system and contribute to the national economy, as well as the efficiency of the European and global air transport system.

Source: BTN News

UK authorities are set to unveil plans to overhaul the country’s airspace through a modernisation programme intended to take advantage of air traffic management technology. Air navigation service NATS was requested last year to assess the technical feasibility of restructuring the airspace to improve efficiency, capacity and reduce noise. It states that the restructuring will make better use of performance-based navigation and free-route airspace.

Source: FlightGlobal




Emirates to introduce service between Auckland and Bali

Dubai-based airline Emirates is planning to launch a new daily service from Dubai to Auckland, New Zealand, through the island of Bali in Indonesia.

Starting from June 2018, the new service complements Emirates’ existing non-stop daily service between Dubai and Auckland and its daily A380 service between Dubai and Christchurch through Sydney. Emirates will offer a total of three daily services to New Zealand to global travellers.

The airline’s two existing daily services are currently operated by a Boeing 777 300-ER in a two-class configuration.

Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark said: “We are confident that our year-round service between Auckland and Bali will be well-received by our customers, not only in New Zealand and Indonesia, but also from our global network particularly from markets like the UK, Europe, and the Middle East.”

The new service is expected to provide better connections for London and other major European cities.

Welcoming Emirates’ announcement, Auckland Airport aeronautical commercial general manager Scott Tasker said that the new service will add more than 250,000 seats to the route.

Tasker added: “Bali continues to grow as a popular holiday destination for Kiwis, who can now fly there non-stop, year-round. Additionally, this new service provides an option for European travellers to stopover in Bali when flying to and from New Zealand.”

The new service is also set to provide 20t of cargo capacity between New Zealand, Bali and Dubai.

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