Passenger numbers, measured year over year, were starting to decline. Economies were faltering. And then in March 2020 the pandemic swept across the continent. For Europe’s aviation industry this was a new world of unprecedented uncertainty, where the fundamentals of demand and supply for aviation services no longer seemed to apply. Flights dropped to 10% of their predicted throughput and ANSPs and airports were confronted with the prospect of having to shut down frontline services if contagion spread through their operating centres.
The EUROCONTROL Network Directors of Operations Group (NDOP) meeting on 17 March 2020 agreed that the only way the industry could manage the crisis and then plan a coordinated recovery would be to work collectively to share data on airline schedules and capacity. It developed a new concept for initially a Business Continuity and afterwards a Recovery Plan, which included weekly conference calls sharing consolidated information on expected traffic and capacity delivery levels for the ensuing four weeks, extended afterwards to six weeks.