ENAIRE, the national air navigation manager in Spain, is applying throughout the summer and, until September 30, a special operation to contribute to the recovery of flights and the air transport sector, in combination with prevention and of sustainable adaptation to the growth of demand.
The measures adopted are part of the so-called ENAIRE Air Navigation Services Recovery Plan. This Plan was launched in June 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in 2021, coinciding with the expected traffic recovery for the summer months, ENAIRE reinforces it in view of the expected increase in traffic.
Since the beginning of the health crisis, ENAIRE has managed without incident the air navigation services that it provides to society as a responsible operator of essential and critical infrastructure for the State, applying various measures, with the fundamental objectives of preserving the health of its workers and the continuity of the services provided.
In this context, ENAIRE's priority has been, on the one hand, to apply risk prevention measures as rigorously as possible and all the recommendations of the health authorities to prevent COVID-19 infections in the workplace and, on the other hand, the other is to articulate and implement an extensive set of criteria and organizational measures on services, especially those related to air traffic (ATS), in order to ensure the safety, continuity, efficiency and sustainability of all of them.
Flexibility and availability measures
ENAIRE is applying an extensive set of criteria and measures of an organizational nature on its services, acting especially on air traffic services.
Some of these measures have required, in different periods of 2020, the need to incorporate additional elements regarding the maintenance of operational competence, such as the greater use of simulators in addition to nominal training in the workplace. The objective is to preserve the competence and availability of ENAIRE's control personnel for the provision of air traffic service (ATS) during the transition from periods of low demand to current growth.
The measures aimed at supporting the operational competence of air traffic controllers with the recovery of demand stand out.
After the period of forced confinement since the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, in line with the de-escalation plan that the Government applied since May 11, 2020, and closely linked to the forecast of recovery of traffic demand, ENAIRE designed the Plan for the Recovery of Air Navigation Services organized in several phases.
This Plan began on June 1, 2020. Although the measures envisaged for 2020 were generated in a context in which it was necessary to guarantee the response to the growth in demand, the measures for 2021, and especially for this summer, have been mainly reoriented in ensuring the gradual recovery of services in growing traffic environments towards nominal conditions, relying on complementary measures carried out previously based on the intensive use of simulators, specific support and reinforcement personnel, and reinforcement of procedures. All these ENAIRE measures are aimed at being prepared for the gradual recovery of air traffic, mainly in the summer season.
As of the summer of 2021, the forecast is that the behavior of traffic demand will already be affected by summer-winter seasonality, and growth towards levels prior to COVID-19 will be progressive in the medium-long term.
Once this scenario is reached in the summer of 2021, on September 30, the recovery measures and support for the operational competence of air traffic controllers will be finalized, maintaining a period of observation and monitoring of traffic together with the associated scheduling measures.
As of October, and if the mobility restrictions imposed by the states tend to be eliminated, it is expected that traffic will already evolve according to seasonality according to demand levels normalized to a post-COVID era.
ENAIRE lowers rates to help the sector
To boost the recovery of the aeronautical sector, ENAIRE has once again drastically reduced its air navigation rates this year 2021.
Spain, through ENAIRE, is the country of the 38 of EUROCONTROL that lowered its route rates in 2021, standing around 8% below the average rates.
ENAIRE reduces its route rate for the Peninsula in 2020 (-16.7%) and in 2021 (-11%) by 26% and that of the Canary Islands (-12.5% / -8.5%, respectively) by 20%, thus supporting the aviation sector in its recovery from the crisis caused by the impact of the pandemic.