In a path-breaking move, Ireland and the UK signed an agreement which creates the continent's first ever Functional Airspace Block (FAB). The FAB refers to a European scheme designed to reduce flying time of airlines and reduce fuel consumption.
The agreement has been signed three months after the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) unveiled a wide-ranging scheme designed to save €5bn, 12 million tonnes of C02 and 21 million minutes of flight delays each year.
The agreement will allow airlines to liaise with just one set of air-traffic controllers for flights over Irish and UK airspace. This will allow shorter routes to be implemented, resulting in lower fuel-burns and emissions.
Through the agreement, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) will formally co-operate with NATS, which runs the UK's air-traffic control system.
Under ELFAA's scheme, two other major FABs will come into existence in Europe - one covering western Europe and another covering the central continent.
These FABs will be part of the Single European Sky regulations.
The agreement is of particular significance for airlines flying across the Atlantic, as approximately 90 per cent of this traffic passes through Irish and UK airspace.