Related content

Read more about Operations on:


ATM's role in environmental efficiency

24 September 2014

As world leaders met on 23 September for a one day Climate Summit, CANSO and the other aviation industry stakeholders agreed a joint action statement with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The industry has agreed joint actions to improve further air transport fuel efficiency and stabilise the sector’s net CO2 emissions from 2020.

The industry has committed to work with its partners to: support the development of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation; deploy new technology aircraft and operational improvements; accelerate the transformation of global air traffic management (ATM) performance; develop a global CO2 standard for new aircraft; design and implement a global market-based measure for international aviation; and build capacity across the world.

The ATM industry is playing a large role under the third of these commitments by improving efficiency so aircraft can fly optimal and fuel-efficient routes. The industry has already made significant progress in implementing new procedures that improve efficiency, save fuel and reduce emissions.

These new procedures include air traffic flow management, leading to reduced airborne holding at airports, more flexibility for aircraft and reduced emissions. Performance-based navigation allows aircraft to fly precisely defined paths without relying on ground-based radio navigation systems, saving fuel on more direct routes. Continuous descent operations and continuous climb operations optimise flight trajectories for landing and take-off thus saving fuel. These are just some of the many examples of the continuing role that ATM plays in improving efficiency and reducing emissions from aviation.

States can help with the last of the commitments – building capacity – by helping our industry in its goal to achieve seamless and harmonised airspace globally. We are looking to them to implement ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs) that provide a roadmap for planning airspace enhancements over the next 15 years. They can also help improve efficiency and reduce emissions by: investing in infrastructure to modernise ATM systems; cooperate with other States to harmonise airspace over wider areas; and allow more flexible use of military airspace.

The Climate Summit marks an opportunity for the aviation industry to demonstrate to States what it is doing to reduce emissions. The industry is working hard together to do its bit but there are certain measures that only States can take to do their bit. While many States have risen to the challenge, there is still much more that needs to be done. CANSO will continue its programme of holding seminars and workshops to brief States on ATM issues such as implementing ASBUs and implementing performance-based navigation. Together, industry and States can work together in partnership to improve efficiency.



  • PBN
  • ICAO
  • ASBUs
  • ATAG
  • ATFM
  • Environment

About the author

Kapri Kupper Operations Programme Manager CANSO

Subscribe to the CANSO publications