Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) Annual Report 2013

Returning to growth

During 2013, the air traffic volume increased by 1.6% on 2012 figures with MUAC handling over 1.6 million flights. This was an all-time high and marks a clear return to growth in the MUAC airspace

The average daily traffic volume for the year reached 4,278 flights, while the average daily traffic volume over the key summer months (May-October) amounted to 4,730 flights. Significantly, the summer months saw a 3.3% increase in traffic on 2012. 

Despite increased traffic demand, controller productivity increased by 2.5% during 2013 to 1.99 composite flight-hours per air traffic controller-hour thanks to optimal use of flexible capacity and rostering mechanisms. Punctuality remained excellent with 99.5% of flights unimpeded. The average delay per flight was 0.07 minutes and the total economic cost per flight-hour (€2013) was €256, down 4.3% on 2012.

Crucially, MUAC’s safety performance improved compared to the previous year: one Category B incident with a MUAC contribution was recorded over the entire year while the effectiveness of the safety management system was maintained.

Performance remained high thanks to numerous infrastructure upgrades and streamlined airspace design and usage through greater levels of cooperation between the various stakeholders and partners. Free route usage amounted to 53% in 2013 and the total number of nautical miles saved by operators amounted to 681,600. In 2013, the use of free routes generated savings of 4,090 t of fuel and 13,632 t of CO2 compared to the previous fixed route network.

Focus on cost management continued and organisational structures were adapted to achieve greater efficiency and reduce costs. Going forward, further synergies are sought within the organisation with a view to continuing to reduce expenditure, while improving safety, maintaining investments, pressing ahead with technological improvements and participating in key SESAR validations.

Close cooperation with military stakeholders was enhanced with MUAC’s Air Traffic Control System becoming fully operational at different Royal Netherlands Air Force sites. This landmark Shared ATS System project for civil and military cooperation marks the first time that an ATC system has been operated by a user at another location and helped bring the virtual centre model concept closer. Looking to the future, the Shared ATS System project has proven that a wider virtual centre network solution would offer significant and sustainable safety and cost-efficiency improvements as well as facilitate the accelerated deployment of SESAR innovations across Europe.

During 2013 MUAC continued to perform in an efficient and flexible manner, delivering another year of robust performance in the face of an unexpected traffic increase that began in the spring. Traffic levels were far higher than predicted and have returned to pre-crisis levels.


Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) Annual Report 2013