The Borealis Alliance Free Route Airspace programme in Europe has received the Single European Sky (SES) award from the European Commission (EC).
The programme is designed to enable a single flight-plannable area of free route airspace covering nine North European countries by 2021.
It is one of few projects to receive the prize in the Commission's inaugural SES awards.
The EC selected the Borealis Airspace programme because of its recognisable contribution to increasing efficiency and making air travel in Europe cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "The fragmentation of the European sky is costing us €5bn a year and millions of tonnes of unnecessary CO2.
"Completing and implementing the Single European Sky is therefore an absolute priority of my mandate, and we gave it a new push with the Aviation Strategy we adopted last December. But to succeed, we need to get all stakeholders on-board.
"I very much welcome the Free Route Airspace to be set up by the Borealis project by 2021.
It will allow airlines to plan their preferred routes across nine European countries, thereby saving 70.000 tons of CO2 and 15 million euro in management costs annually."
The Borealis Free Route Airspace programme is an initiative of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from three Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) in collaboration with Iceland.
The programme will allow airspace users to avail the most fuel efficient, cost effective and timely routes managed by Borealis members across the entire airspace.
Borealis Alliance executive director Branka Subotic said: "This award is recognition of all the hard work that the nine ANSPs have put into this initiative."
Subotic and chair of the Borealis Alliance Board Olle Sundin received the award during the World ATM Congress in Madrid, Spain.
Image: Olle Sundin and Branka Subotic receive the SES award for the Borealis Alliance Free Route Airspace programme. Photo: courtesy of NATS Limited.