The company has begun the process of examining the way it manages airspace so it can cut the emissions of aircraft under its control by an average of ten per cent per flight by 2020.
It has also pledged that every aspect of its business – from recycling to commuting - will be scrutinised to achieve a carbon-neutral estate by 2011.
Chief Executive Paul Barron said: “Within the air traffic management industry, we have kindled this debate. Now we’re setting the standard. It will not be easy but we believe it is necessary to demonstrate that we can make a difference.
“I believe we have a moral responsibility to do what we can to reduce the impact on the environment, grow our business and support our partners in a sustainable way. We are engaged in a complete overview of everything we do to see where we can do it better.
“No-one has done this before but we expect others to follow once the expertise and commitment of our people have shown the way forward.”
NATS’ carbon reduction target is in line with international aspirations. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified potential for cuts in aircraft fuel burn attributed to air traffic management of between six to 12 per cent by 2020. SESAR, the project to harmonise air traffic control across Europe, has set its benchmark of ten per cent by the same year.
NATS’ environment targets are a key element of Vision 2011, which details the future development of the company within six main themes:
- Acting Responsibly– setting stretching environmental targets for the business and our people.
- Proactive in Safety– to work even more effectively to drive down the number of safety incidents by anticipating and solving them before they occur.
- Tuned in to Customers – influencing the plans of our customers and co-owning the solutions.
- Great Partners to work with – by creating alliances, we can sell our expertise worldwide.
- Liberating and Inspiring People – creating a climate where everyone wants to take responsibility for our common success.
- Driving Efficiency– continuously improving everything we do.
Vision 2011 builds on a successful year for NATS. In November, the company successfully transferred its West Drayton control centre, which controls some of the world’s busiest and most complex airspace over London, to Swanwick in Hampshire.
Five hundred people and equipment were relocated in an operation costing £90m and completing the first half of NATS’ two-centre strategy. The second half will be completed in 2010 when centres at Manchester and Prestwick will be co-located in a new state of the art centre at Prestwick.
NATS has been voted the best air navigation service provider in the world in Air Traffic Management magazine, and was named in 2007 as one of the Sunday Times 20 Best Big Companies to work for, alongside names such as American Express, Goldman Sachs and O2.