Summer 2023: High weather impacts on the network

EUROCONTROL Aviation Trends Issue #3 - cover

Our latest EUROCONTROL European Aviation Trends briefing looks at how weather delays are increasingly impacting the network, despite strong coordination to help plan and coordinate mitigation actions undertaken by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) with operational stakeholders in Summer 2023.

Despite these efforts, our briefing shows there was a significant increase in weather-related delays in Summer 2023 compared to Summer 2022:

  • 59% higher air traffic flow management (ATFM) delays per flight
  • 1 in 4 summer days saw 50%+ of ATFM delays attributed to adverse weather, compared to just 1 in 13 in Summer 2022
  • removing weather impacts would actually have reduced per flight ATFM delays by 18%.

All of the indicators in our analysis confirm the growing negative impact of convective weather on the network, and have led NM and its operational partners to make mitigating bad weather one of the main priorities for 2024.

This will rely heavily on the network Cross-Border Weather Procedure, which integrates forecasts from all meteorological organisations across Europe coordinated by EUMETNET, and helps operational stakeholders collaboratively forecast, plan and coordinate mitigation actions. In 2024, this will be augmented by new elements such as a common forecast approach, a variable decision-making time, and the use of ATFM mechanisms such as a pre-agreed playbook of restrictions or scenarios.

This procedure is also key for monitoring and better attributing ATFM delays to weather-related causes: correctly allocating delays is an essential first step towards identifying their real causal factors, and implementing effective corrective/mitigating actions. This approach fits well with an initiative by the independent Performance Review Commission (PRC), which aims at further improving transparency in the attribution of ATFM delays.

Overall, these measures targeting weather impacts will bring more stability to the network, increase safety, reduce delays and improve predictability, enabling NM to shift traffic flows better to avoid areas impacted by weather.


Summer 2023: High weather impacts on the network