Iata has added its weight to the aviation sector’s Sky’s the Limit campaign for more efficient air traffic routes in the UK.

Estimates produced for the airline industry body suggest that the UK could gain £29 billion and 116,000 jobs a year from fully-optimised airspace by 2035.

Moreover, every passenger will benefit from shorter travel times and more connections.

UK air traffic control provider Nats has plans for important airspace changes to update a system originally designed 50 years ago. But it needs a government policy framework to provide the necessary political support for change.

Nats, the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK and Airlines UK are also backing the Sky’s the Limit initiative.

Iata European regional vice president Rafael Schvartzman said: “Air routes in the UK are hampered by lack of political will to help Nats deliver change to ensure greater capacity, fewer delays, and reduced emissions and noise.

“The Sky’s the Limit campaign is calling for the UK government to set a policy for modernisation and reform – an objective fully shared by the airline community.”

Iata urged similar action throughout Europe to address airspace inefficiencies that are costing passengers around 10 million minutes of delay every year.

Lack of optimised routes also results in excess fuel usage and emissions.

A report for Iata suggests a fully modernised airspace would unlock €245 billion in annual economic benefits by 2035 as a result of improved productivity, a million extra jobs, and lower costs.

“The benefits that the Sky’s the Limit campaign envisages for the UK can be replicated across Europe, but modernised European airspace can only be achieved if airlines and Governments work together,” added Schvartzman.

“If the UK gets its approach right, it will be a leading example for other European states to follow.

“We need each country to develop a national airspace strategy, in full consultation with airlines, to maximise the potential of our airspace system. There should be no limits to creating the high-quality airspace network passengers deserve.”