Europe’s ATM performed well in 2013, but can do better new study finds

- Brussels, Belgium.
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The latest Performance Review Report (PRR) of EUROCONTROL’s Performance Review Commission (PRC) has just been published, giving an independent assessment of European Air Traffic Management’s (ATM) performance in 2013.

Safety levels are still high in Europe. There have been no fatal air navigation services (ANS)-related accidents since 2010 and the number of reported ANS-related serious incidents in 2013 was the lowest seen in the past 11 years. “Despite this positive trend, we still need to improve the level of occurrence reporting and the assessment of incidents. The deployment of automatic safety data reporting could further improve trend analysis for the identification of safety risks,” observed Ralph Riedle, PRC Chairman.

Most area control centres provided sufficient en-route capacity in 2013 and as a result, average en-route air traffic flow management (ATFM) delay was reduced to just 0.53 minutes per flight – the lowest level ever recorded in Europe. “We welcome the levels of good performance achieved in 2013, but it is worth pointing out that traffic is still below 2008 levels and it is important to ensure that sufficient capacity be made available to accommodate the demand when traffic increases again,” warned Mr. Riedle.

After the positive trend observed recently, horizontal flight-efficiency in 2013 stayed close to its 2012 level in Europe. All stakeholders need to make a joint effort - effectively coordinated by the Network Manager – in order to improve results in this area.

In 2012, the latest year for which actual cost data are available, en-route ANS costs came to €6.5 billion in Europe. After a progressive decrease seen in 2010 and 2011, real en-route unit costs increased by +2.3% in 2012. This is the result of a -1.2% decrease in en-route service units and a +1.0% increase in actual en-route ANS costs.  

Besides giving detailed information on the four key performance areas (safety, capacity, flight-efficiency and cost-efficiency), the PRR 2013 also gives updates on new research, such as the impact of “out of area traffic” on network performance and the impact of weather on en-route ATM. The report is available online here.

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