Press release

Overview of air traffic figures June – July – August 2023

Advance planning and collaboration kept summer delays manageable – traffic growth remains a major challenge

Brussels, Belgium – Over the core summer months (June-August 2023), the number of flights in the EUROCONTROL Network increased by 7% over the 2022 figure, reaching 93% of the pre-pandemic level. Several areas, notably the south-east axis from Croatia to Türkiye, experienced even greater increases in traffic – well over 10% above 2022. On average, there were 32,495 flights a day with the busiest day, 7 July, reaching 34,637 flights.

Air traffic flow management (ATFM) delays per flight were similar to the previous summer with 3.8 minutes per flight (3.7 in June-August 2022). Delays caused by weather rose significantly from 1.0 min/flight to 1.6 min/flight. Without the weather element, ATFM delays per flight fell by 18% from 2.7 min/flight to 2.3 min/flight.

ATFM delays are a small part of the total delays experienced by the passenger. The percentage of flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time was better during the core summer months of 2023 than in the same months in 2022, rising from 63.9% to 66.0%. However, this punctuality level was still much worse than in 2019, when 72.9% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of the schedule.

The EUROCONTROL Network Manager prepared extensively for summer 2023, in close cooperation with all operational partners (airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, the military). This work was a major factor in ensuring that ATFM delays did not increase substantially.

Over the coming months, EUROCONTROL will be working with these partners on a network-wide level to plan for summer 2024 and to address four key issues contributing to overall delays: the impact of weather; increased flexibility from all operational stakeholders; realistic scheduling / on-time first departures; and delivering on agreed capacity. The objective is to ensure that in future years, the overall passenger experience improves.

Background

From September 2022, EUROCONTROL worked closely with all operational stakeholders (airlines, ANSPs, the military and airports) to develop a shared plan to address the challenges of summer 2023. The key actions that were identified were:

  • Prioritising First Rotation
  • Flight Plan Adherence
  • Realistic schedules, including turnaround times
  • Delivering agreed capacities

Implementing these actions played a major role in ensuring that air traffic flow management delays did not grow substantially, which was a risk due to the significant increase in the number of flights, up to 20% less airspace available as a result of the war in Ukraine, more structural volatility and the impact of weather disruptions.

Key figures

From 1 June to 31 August 2023:

  • There were 2,989,583 flights overall in the European network compared to 2,793,805 in June-August 2022, an increase of 7%.
  • Total ATFM delays per flight rose slightly from 3.7 to 3.8 minutes compared to June-August 2022. This rise was as a result of an increase in weather delay per flight – from 1.0 minutes to 1.6 minutes. /li>
  • Arrival punctuality (within 15 minutes of scheduled time) – which reflects all causes of delay, not just ATFM – was 2.1 percentage points better than in 2022 (at 66.0%) but lower than in 2019.

In June 2023, there was a major military exercise that took place in the core area of Europe. This was successfully managed with delays to civilian traffic below predictions as a result of pro-active actions by all stakeholders. Only 12,474 flights were directly delayed out of total 293,928 flights (4% of total flights).

Network from 1 June - 31 August
  2019 2022 2023 Change from 2022 to 2023 Change from 2019 to 2023
Flights 3,214,547 2,793,805 2,989,583 +7% -7%
Total ATFM Delay (minutes) 11,773,430 10,430,854 11,428,723 +10% -3%
Weather ATFM delay (minutes) 3,578,834 2,757,103 4,682,280 +70% +31%
ATFM delay/flight
(all causes)
3.7 min 3.7 min 3.8 min +2% +4%
ATFM delay/flight (due weather only) 1.1 min 1.0 min 1.6 min +59% +41%
Punctuality (arrival) 72.9% 63.9% 66.0% +2.1pp* -6.9pp*

* percentage points

For further information, please contact

Email: [email protected]
For more information via the website: www.eurocontrol.int

Note to editors

EUROCONTROL:
EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. As Europe’s Network Manager, we play a central coordination role, using our technical expertise to support Member States and a wide range of stakeholders (air navigation service providers, civil and military airspace users, airports and aircraft/equipment manufacturers). We strive to make European aviation safe, efficient, scalable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable, partnering with the European Union to make the Single European Sky a reality.

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