Beijing - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the implementation of a new air route over China that will reduce air traffic congestion during the Beijing Olympics. The new route, designated B208, was implemented today.

“We call this route the Olympic Bypass. It will alleviate air traffic delays and congestion as flights from Europe to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong no longer need to be channelled through Beijing. This is especially critical with the Olympics in August. The experience of previous Olympics host cities tells us that there will be significantly more air traffic in China’s skies during the Olympics,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The Olympic Bypass is the result of multiple discussions we have had with the Chinese authorities since 2006. By shortening the route by 60 nautical miles, we will save about 83 thousand tonnes of CO2 annually. This is a win-win for all - the Chinese Government, travellers, airlines and most importantly, the environment,” said Bisignani.

“The Olympic Bypass demonstrates the Chinese Government’s continued commitment to improve efficiency in air traffic management in China’s airspace. While being introduced to deal with Olympic-related congestion, this is the latest in a series of major permanent improvements to China’s air traffic management infrastructure. In 2006, China approved IATA-1, and last year China introduced Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM). We need more Governments around the world to be committed to shorten routes and build more efficient infrastructure,” said Bisignani.

In 2007, IATA announced a four pillar strategy for achieving carbon neutral growth in the medium term on the way to a carbon emission free future.

  • Invest in new technology
  • Environmentally efficient infrastructure
  • Improved operations based on industry best practice
  • Economic measures that provide effective incentives to improve environmental performance

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has endorsed the four pillar strategy, as well as the target to improve fuel efficiency by a further 25% by 2020.

Notes to editors

  • IATA-1 (designator Y-1) was launched in April 2006 and cuts the flight times between Europe and China by 30 minutes round trip, saving 85,000 tonnnes of CO2.
  • Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) doubles the airspace capacity between 8,900 metres and 12,500 metres by halving the vertical separation for aircraft from 600 metres to 300 metres.
  • Facts about B208:
    • Expected flights a week : 475 flights
    • Distance saved per flight : 60 nautical miles / 111.2 kilometres
    • Annual fuel savings : 26,000 tonnes
    • Annual CO2 savings : 82,672 tonnes