Flight efficiency plan and free route: efficiency and environmental protection

The Flight Efficiency Plan (FEP), the name of which derives from the application of the concept of flight efficiency, intended as the creation of an airspace structure geared towards satisfying the needs of airlines to plan increasingly shorter routes, with a vertical profile of continuous ascent and descent that guarantees the reduction of consumption, is a plan that summarises the multi-annual interventions carried out by the Group, aimed at optimising the structure of the airway network, precisely to allow the reduction of flight time, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions on the part of aircraft. The Group therefore works towards the realisation of solutions that, in addition to ensuring the maintenance of safety levels (operational safety), are oriented towards flight efficiency with the aim of helping to reduce management costs, minimise the environmental impact and introduce a leading edge navigation system into the Italian air space.

The plan contains both planned interventions in terms of airspace planning (implementation of new routes or improvement of existing ones, as well as the removal, when feasible, of constraints on the availability and usability of airspace for all flight status) and interventions at the level of automation of airport collaboration for the efficiency of aircraft handling (reduction of the time of taxiing and waiting for take-off) achieved through the progressive implementation in the major airports of the A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making), in addition to training and educating operational personnel.

In the context of the FEP objectives that refer to route rectification and the implementation of an airspace structure that ensures the fulfilment of flight efficiency objectives, in December 2016 (with an advance of about 6 years on the term defined by the European regulation of the Single European Sky) ENAV implemented the Free Route Italy (FRAIT). The project has made it possible, for all aircraft flying over an altitude of 11,000 metres, to cross Italian skies with a direct route without referring any longer to a precise route network, which has consequently been eliminated.

The Free Route was a very revolutionary project for national and European air transport since it allowed airlines to plan the shortest possible trajectory, flying directly from an entry point to an exit point in Italian airspace, saving fuel, harmful emissions and consequently costs, while of course maintaining at least unchanged, as is the prerogative of the ENAV Group on each development project, the levels of safety.

From the analyses carried out, the consolidated data at the end of 2017 shows that the savings are about 30 million Kg of fuel, with an environmental benefit of 95 million kg CO2 emissions reduction .


In order to benefit from the advantages introduced by the Free Route, Airlines have changed their flight schedules, increasing their distances within the Italian airspace. The reduction of travel times, associated with a structure of airspace oriented to flight efficiency, has in fact attracted many customers to plan in Italy, recording both significant increases in frequencies on the City Pairs (city of departure and destination) that were already of interest in the Italian skies, as well as over flights for City Pairs that were never planned before the Free Route, Istanbul Caracas, Monastir Brussels, Barcelona Shanghai and Istanbul Havana to name a few.

The ENAV Group was the first, among the 5 major European service providers, to implement the Free Route and with it completed the plan of reorganisation of the Italian airspace, started in 2014, which guarantees to achieve the maximum flight efficiency, thus generating benefits for both airlines and the environment.