AirOpt - optimisation of airspace to save 2MT CO2 a year

Funded by Innovate UK.

Collaboration with Airspace Unlimited Scotland Ltd.

Our aim is to reduce aviation green house gas emissions by a big data optimisation of both flight trajectories and military airspace reservations. Military airspace is typically used less than half of the time it is reserved but adds a 3-4% flight extension to civil flights as they route around it. There are existing concepts to reduce this impact, known as the 'flexible use of airspace' FUA, and more recently the 'advanced flexible use of airspace' or AFUA.

Conservatively this has the prospect to reduce aviation fuel burn by 1%, equivalent to 2Mt CO2 per year across Europe. This compares with two current initiatives: 'Free route airspace', which has saved 2.6Mt CO2 over 5 years (2014-19) and 'Continuous climb and descent' operations which is estimated to save 1.1Mt CO2 per year.

Within this broader project the University of Stirling will investigate and develop shortest path algorithms including uncertainty handling for free route airspace optimisation. This will build on the conflict-free routing algorithms developed under the EPSRC-funded TRANSIT project. We will also investigate suitable metaheuristic encoding and operators for the higher level problem of finding the best configuration of military airspace reservations.

Total award value £75,560.00

People (1)


Dr Sandy Brownlee

Dr Sandy Brownlee

Senior Lecturer in Computing Science, 72