While over a million flights fewer have operated across the European network compared with 2019 since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe, air traffic is now slowly starting to pick up.
After hitting rock bottom on 12 April 2020 with just 2,099 flights operated across the network, the network is starting to pick up, with a daily average of 3,734 flights in week 17 (20-26 April) – a positive development even if 27,180 fewer than the same period last year. The latest data for Wednesday 29 April show a total of 4,566 flights handled – again creeping upwards.
As the recovery slowly starts, the publication today on the Network Operations Portal of the NOP 2020 Recovery Plan, covering a rolling four-week period, marks an important step towards putting European aviation back in the air once more. It consolidates data from around 350 airlines, 68 area control centres (ACCs), 55 airports and 43 States into one unique plan that will be updated by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) on a weekly basis.
Network Recovery Plan Download Here
The Plan reflects a huge coordination effort by the NM and its partners to ensure capacity is available at ACCs and in the airspace they manage, and on the ground at airports, to meet the expected traffic demand from the airlines on each day of the next four weeks. In parallel, the NM factors in a variety of actions designed to maximise network efficiency and help the NM and its operational stakeholders meet their goal of close to zero ATFM delays across the network, as well as efficient and green trajectories. This includes working closely with State Focal Points to coordinate national requirements, already enabling more than 20% of airspace restrictions to be removed.
At a time of continued uncertainty, the NOP 2020 Recovery Plan is a vital coordination initiative that anticipates what needs to be done to get aviation flying again, providing aviation’s key actors with the global view they need in order to plan effectively.
The Plan will be issued every Friday, and reviewed by video conference every Monday by operational stakeholders in the Ad hoc Enlarged NDOP Recovery Cell, a body that brings Europe’s Network ANSPs, airports, airlines and military Directors of Operations together to enhance performance and tackle issues on a network basis.
By partnering for recovery early, the NM aims to ensure a safe and smooth recovery phase for all operational stakeholders, enabling network actors to ramp up progressively activities as traffic returns.