2017 – Rising to the challenge of traffic growth

20 July 2018

The overall performance of EUROCONTROL's Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) in 2017 remained strong and balanced in the areas of safety, financial cost-effectiveness and the environment. A strong customer-oriented culture, supported by a robust and transparent communications process, maintained MUAC’s positive image among its stakeholders, despite persistent challenges in the capacity area. With some 68,000 additional flights (i.e. +3.9%) on the previous year, 2017 was another year of stronger-than-forecast growth. This good result was achieved with the same amount of people and the same budget as in previous years.

The unexpectedly higher traffic growth, which has been experienced for several years, undoubtedly contributed to the deterioration of the capacity key performance indicator and punctuality. In parallel, controller productivity reached a new high and large amounts of additional service units were generated during the course of the year. Civil-military integration within German and Dutch airspace was also one of the most fundamental advances in MUAC’s strategic development, making it the first cross-border civil-military Air Navigation Service Provider.

In order to address the structural airspace limitations generating congestion and major capacity constraints, innovative and proactive solutions were investigated and deployed. Further investments to the ATC infrastructure were made and the controller recruitment ratio reached its maximum capacity.

However, as air traffic growth is bound to continue in the coming years, a fundamental network-wide overhaul is urgently required and must be actively supported at the highest political level to ensure that the aviation industry can continue to thrive.

Learn more about MUAC’s performance and development programmes in the 2017 MUAC Annual Report.

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