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The UK’s air-traffic control authority has revealed that deleting the prescribed “highways in the sky” between Britain and the US went smoothly – as well as saving time and fuel and helping the planet.
For over half a century, all planes flying across the North Atlantic have travelled along clearly prescribed tracks.
This “Organised Track Structure” (OTS) enables air-traffic controllers working for the UK’s air-navigation provider Nats, and its counterpart Nav Canada, to channel aircraft along up to 12 tracks. Nats says they help to provide “a predictable operating environment”.
But a recent study found that all the OTS options are sub-optimal. Some aircraft spent almost 20 per cent longer in the air than they needed, representing an extra hour in flight.