A system to measure the efficiency of aircraft landing at Edinburgh Airport has won a major environment award at the Airport Operators’ Association Conference.

Flight Profile Monitor (FPM), developed by the UK’s leading air traffic solutions company NATS, won the Best Environmental Initiative category at the conference awards evening.

FPM enables airports and airlines that have previously had little or no information about the environmental performance of arriving and departing aircraft to use data to support the drive to reduce noise and CO2 emissions.

The system was trialled in Edinburgh earlier this year and showed that while 95% of departures achieved continuous climb, the most environmentally efficient flight profile, only 55% of arrivals achieved a continuous descent approach.

Initial results from the trial point to up to 20% improvement in continuous descent approaches for Edinburgh Airport, which it is estimated would save 8,000t of CO2 emissions and achieve fuel savings worth more than £150,000 per year. It also reduces noise in communities under the arrival flightpaths.

Improvements to the radar service at Edinburgh along with the new environmental information have driven the benefits.

Work is continuing to improve performance further at Edinburgh, NATS will next look to roll out the flight path monitoring system to other airports in the UK as part of its industry leading environmental programme.

NATS head of environmental and community affairs Ian Jopson said: "The success of the trial shows what can be achieved by industry partners working together to achieve better fuel efficiency and improved environmental performance.

"The Edinburgh trial is due to run until early 2013 but the plan is to build on the success at Edinburgh and extend the programme to other airports in the UK to help deliver similar environmental improvements there.

"All in all, it’s a great achievement. It has brought the airport, airlines and NATS into proactive and constructive discussion about environmental performance. But more importantly it has delivered a tangible outcome, saved fuel, reduced emissions, reduced noise and established a format for success that can be replicated elsewhere."

NATS general manager at Edinburgh Airport Paul Healey said: "We are delighted to have won this award for what has been achieved here. The airport and the airlines, together with the NATS staff at Edinburgh, have worked hard to reduce the impact of the airport on the community and we will continue to strive to improve still further."