Annual Network Operations Report 2021

Annual NOR 2021 cover

The final version of the EUROCONTROL Annual Network Operations Report 2021 is now available.

Network traffic remained suppressed during 2021 due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 6.2 million flights corresponding to 56% of 2019 traffic levels.

European mobility restrictions continued through the early months of 2021. Daily traffic remained at, on average, 9 to 10,000 flights until June. As Europe rolled out the vaccination programme, restrictions lifted and the network recovered strongly from summer onwards to around 70-80% of 2019 levels. The Omicron variant arrived at year end and new restrictions dampened the recovery.

EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) in collaboration with NDOP, NMB and operational stakeholders took a number of special measures to mitigate the pandemic’s network impact.

Airlines recorded 85% arrival punctuality during most of 2021. Airline delay was 9 minutes per flight, an increase of 1.7 minutes compared to 2020 and a decrease of 4 minutes compared to 2019. Airlines reported increased ‘Government reasons’ as cause of delay, the contribution of this cause to the average delay per flight almost doubled in 2021 up to 0.9 minutes per flight compared to 0.5 minutes in 2019.

The ATFM delay per flight remained low at 0.47 minutes. En-route ATFM delay was 0.29 minutes per flight and airport ATFM delay was 0.18 minutes per flight.

ATFM delays were negligible for most of the year. The exceptions were July-August when a small number of ACCs experienced capacity/staffing problems.

ATFM measures were implemented in some Greek airports during the summer due to localised high demand.

More optimal flight profiles were possible as there were fewer vertical and horizontal restrictions. NM, together with the operational stakeholders, maintained “relaxation” of around 1,200 RAD measures.

The flight-planning indicator (KEP) decreased to 4.5% and the actual trajectory indicator (KEA) decreased to 2.7% in the NM area over the second half of 2021. The excess fuel burn on intra NM flights remained at or below 5.0% in 2021; that’s a 2021 average of 4.2% compared to 8.6% in 2019.


Annual Network Operations Report 2021
Annex I - ACC capacity evolution
Annex II - Airports