Hungarian-Romanian-Bulgarian Free Route: further decrease in the emission of airplanes

HungaroControl Zrt. and ROMATSA, the Romanian air navigation service provider helped to establish the free route concept in Bulgaria, which allows the free use of Bulgarian airspace from 30th March. Airplanes may freely use the airspace between the defined entry points and exit points without restrictions, even following the shortest route possible. Based on the experience, this results in a decrease of fuel consumption and emissions of airplanes.

The total length of the routes taken by the airplanes flying across Hungary has been decreased by 1.5 million kilometres, the airlines spare kerosene in the amount of more than 3 million USD, while 16 million kilograms less CO2 is emitted into the air – shows the result of the HUFRA (Hungarian Free Route) initiative implemented by HungaroControl Zrt. in February, 2015.

The main point of the solution developed and implemented first in Europe in February, 2015 by HungaroControl Zrt. is to allow the free use of Hungarian airspace between the defined entry points and exit points without restrictions, by removing the whole air route system. The European Organization for Quality has awarded an Innovation for Quality international award in the ‘Responsible innovations for sustainability’ category to HungaroControl Zrt. for their innovative and green implementation.

The introduction of HUFRA has been followed by the implementation of N-FRAB (Night Free Route Airspace Budapest/Bukarest) in the Hungarian and Romanian airspace in August, 2015. The Hungarian HungaroControl Zrt. and ROMATSA air navigation service provider jointly run the program that ensures the free use of the airspaces of both countries – now 24/7.

The same logic applies to the creation of SEEN FRA (South Eastern Europe Night Free Route Airspace), which expands ‘free route’ conception to the airspace of Bulgaria in co-operation with BULATSA, the Bulgarian air navigation service provider. The first step in this process was to enable the free use of airspace across the 3 countries at night on 30th March, while the second step will be the free use of airspace during the whole day. The implementation of our system of free airspace usage above 9000 meters shall be mandatory by 2022 in whole Europe.

Joining the 3 countries result in further decrease in fuel consumption and emissions of airplanes.