Press release

Positive start to aviation summer 2023

Brussels, Belgium – In positive news for passengers across the continent, figures from June 2023, the first month of the summer, show that while traffic is up by 7% compared to June 2022, air traffic flow management (ATFM) delays per flight are down by 8% to 3.7 minutes per flight.

Traffic levels in June 2023 in many parts of Europe are at or above those of June 2019. In some areas of south-east of Europe in particular, they are up to 15% above 2019. Overall ATFM delays in June are 7% lower than in 2019. This clear positive trend comes despite the war in Ukraine reducing available airspace and shows that close cooperation between all operational partners in preparation for the summer is delivering a good result and keeping delays to a minimum.

Specific areas are experiencing constraints caused by local issues such as infrastructure or staffing. Where these exist, EUROCONTROL is continuing to work with airlines, ANSPs, the military and airports to mitigate the impacts as much as possible.

Looking to July and August, EUROCONTROL will continue to do its utmost in full partnership with operational stakeholders to maintain this positive start to the summer.

Background

EUROCONTROL has been working closely since September 2022 with airlines, ANSPs, the military and airports as it was clear very quickly that summer 2023 would be very complex to manage due to a combination of factors. These include a 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 potential disruptions.

A series of actions were identified by EUROCONTROL together with the airlines, air navigation service providers, military, and airports to address the challenges. These include:

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

These actions have played a major role in ensuring that the European air traffic network has delivered very good performance for the first part of the summer.

The EUROCONTROL Network Operations Plan, which is a weekly rolling seasonal assessment of the situation in the network and how it is being addressed identifies some areas where available capacity is currently below anticipated demand. This is done to allow operational stakeholders in those areas to make the necessary adjustments to try to address any shortfall. It is not a predictor of specific delays in those areas.

Key figures

In June 2023:

  • Flights have increased by 7% compared to June 22
  • There were 960,298 flights overall in the European network compared to 894,310 in 2022
  • ATFM delays per flight have reduced by 8% compared to June 2022. This improvement comes despite the fact that weather delay (which is included in the ATFM delay figure) increased by 50% in June 23 compared to June 22
  • ATFM delays are 3.7 minutes per flight in June 2023
  • Comparing June 2023 with June 2019, total ATFM delays are down by 7%.

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 in June
  2019 2022 2023 Change from 2022 to 2023 Change from 2019 to 2023
Traffic 1,039,153 894,310 960,298 7% -8%
Air traffic flow management delay 3,864,680 3,624,315 3,585,029 -1% -7%
ATFM delay/flight 3.7 mins 4.1 mins 3.7 mins -8% 0%

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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