Borealis Free Route Airspace (FRA) implementation

Following the launch of the Borealis Free Route Airspace implementation, the Borealis Alliance commissioned Helios to value the expected benefits to airspace users


Borealis Alliance – an Alliance of nine northern European Air Navigation Service Providers.


The Borealis Alliance has launched a programme to deliver seamless and integrated Free Route Airspace (FRA) across the whole of Northern Europe by 2021.

Airlines and business aviation operators will in future be able to plan and take the most cost-effective, fuel efficient and timely routes across the entire airspace controlled by Borealis Alliance members rather than having to follow pre-defined 'routes' within each member country's airspace. This is expected to save significant time, money and fuel, but what is the value of the benefit?

Role of Helios

Helios was asked to undertake a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) of the FRA implementation, to present a business case and to evaluate the added-value of different implementation steps. The Helios team built a CBA model to assess costs and benefits and to allow sensitivity analysis with variations in key inputs. The work also involved cooperating with Eurocontrol on a System for traffic Assignment and Analysis (SAAM) simulation that provided estimates on distance saved across Borealis airspace volume.


The study concluded that there is a positive Net Present Value for implementing the Borealis FRA programme. The sensitivity analysis has also shown that the results are sensitive to a number of key inputs. In addition, the CBA proved that the more challenging steps of the programme covering implementation of FRA in Scottish and London FIRs increase net benefits considerably to over €200m.

For further information on this project please contact Mark Scott.

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