ENAIRE improves flight efficiency by making greater use of continuous descent operations
Eurocontrol (the European network manager) confirms that Spanish airports, thanks to ENAIRE's air traffic controllers, are leading the way in continuous descents, thus contributing to savings in aircraft fuel burn and reducing atmospheric emissions from air traffic.
A continuous descent operation is a type of manoeuvre that relies on how airspace is designed, and is facilitated by air traffic control, whereby an aircraft descends using a profile similar to a continuous slope, using minimum engine thrust before the final approach.
In 2021, 36% of the approaches authorised by ENAIRE were continuous descent approaches (CDA), compared to the European average of 18%, according to EUROCONTROL (Performance Review Unit) data from the continent's major airports, meaning CDAs are 18 percentage points higher in the case of Spain.
Specifically, in 2021, the Málaga-Costa del Sol airport ranked first among major European airports in terms of the percentage of CDAs authorised, 47%, with Gran Canaria coming in second at 43%.
Palma (38%), Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat (36%) and Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas (28%) are among the top 8 in the ranking of major European airports.
Trend in 2022
Between January and June 2022, the percentage of CDAs authorised at Spain's major airports was still much higher than in the rest of Europe. In Spain on average, 36% of all approaches authorised by ENAIRE air traffic controllers were CDAs, 21 percentage points higher than the European average in that period (15%).
CDAs not only yield less fuel use and emissions, they also result in a reduced noise impacts on populations near airports.
ENAIRE, in coordination with EUROCONTROL, Aena and airlines, endorses this type of operation at all times, especially at night, as part of its Strategic Plan, the 2025 Flight Plan.
At nighttime, the lower acoustic impact is even more significant, so ENAIRE tries to implement CDAs by default when permitted by air traffic.
2025 Flight Plan
ENAIRE's Strategic Plan (2025 Flight Plan), part of its Environmental Sustainability Strategy (Green Sky), specifies as part of its efforts to reduce emissions the use of this type of CDA operation, which require less fuel consumption by aircraft.
ENAIRE is the air navigation service provider in Spain.
As a company of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, it provides en route control services for all flights and overflights from five control centres in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Gran Canaria and Palma, as well as approach services to every airport in the country.
In addition, 45 control towers receive ENAIRE's communication, navigation and surveillance services, and 21 airports, including the country's busiest, rely on its aerodrome control services.
ENAIRE is Europe's fourth largest air traffic manager. Since 1 January 2022, it has chaired the A6 Alliance, a coalition of air navigation providers responsible for over 80% of European air traffic, and which is seeking to modernise the air traffic management system. It is also a member of other international alliances promoting the Single European sky, such as SESAR Joint Undertaking, SESAR Deployment Manager, iTEC, CANSO and ICAO.
ENAIRE, as the agency appointed by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda to implement the U-space system in Spain, will be the provider of the Common Information Services (CIS), which are essential for administering U-space services to drones and Urban Air Mobility, in interaction with local air traffic control services, so that all types of aircraft can fly safely in the same airspace.
ENAIRE has received the highest score in Europe on the aviation safety key performance indicator. It has also been awarded the EFQM 500 Seal for its safe, efficient, innovative and sustainable management of air navigation services.
Number of the Department of communication +34 912 967 551
Communication department email address email@example.com