Performance 2015: Service quality remains at high level

- Langen, Germany.

In 2015, the service quality in terms of safety, capacity/punctuality and flight efficiency provided by the seven FABEC air navigation service providers ANA (Luxembourg), Belgocontrol (Belgium), DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), LVNL (Netherlands), MUAC (EUROCONTROL), and skyguide (Switzerland) remained at a high level as a result of the sustainable improvements made since the beginning of economic regulation in 2012. Despite this overarching positive trend, the capacity target and the horizontal flight efficiency target were not reached. The capacity target is measured by ATFM en-route delay, i.e. lack of punctuality due to air navigation services (ANS). The horizontal flight efficiency target reflects the deviation from the great-circle distance, i.e. the route which could be flown, disregarding airspaces reserved for military training, bad weather etc.

Despite slight growth, traffic below 2007 levels

Last year, the air traffic volume in FABEC airspace increased by 1.8 percent from 5.51 million flights in 2014 to 5.61 million flights in 2015. Landings in the FABEC area grew by 1.1 percent in 2015 (2,513 million) compared with 2014 (2,485 million). The growth trend continued for the second consecutive year. Almost all FABEC control centres recorded a traffic increase in 2015. Nevertheless, there are still some significant variations between control centres and individual sectors. Moreover, when the long-term trend is considered, traffic volume was still below the values seen in 2007.

Excellence in operational safety

In 2015, there were once again no accidents caused by air navigation services in FABEC airspace. The level of safety was consistently high as proven by data on separation minima infringements and runway incursions. The number of separation minima infringements declined slightly (2011:1,301; 2015: 1,192), whereas the number of reported runway incursions increased over the last four years (2011: 473; 2015: 522). This could be related to a new reporting mechanism. The result was accompanied by sustainable improvements both in the effectiveness of the safety management and in Just Culture.

On-time service is standard

In 2015, 96.2 percent of all en-route flights in FABEC were on time, meaning that they experienced no delay caused by air traffic flow management (ATFM) measures. This is an excellent level of service quality and a slight improvement of 0.3 percentage points compared with 2011, when 95.9 percent were on time. While the average en-route delay was 0.74 minutes (44.4 seconds) per flight in 2011, it decreased to 0.70 minutes (42 seconds) in 2015. However, the ambitious target of 0.48 minutes of average ATFM en-route delay per flight set out in the FABEC Performance Plan was not met. The reasons for this development were local issues, such as structural capacity shortages in Maastricht – mainly due to unpredicted shifts in traffic flows – and Reims, a technical outage in Brussels and the introduction of new technical systems in Brest. Besides this, weather has an increasing impact on punctuality.

Environmental impact: Continuous improvement

In 2015, the environmental performance of the FABEC ANSPs, measured in terms of horizontal flight efficiency, improved slightly compared to 2011. Based on correlated position reports for 2015, the average extra en-route distance per flight in FABEC airspace was 16.40 km compared with the great-circle distance. Thanks to the flexibility of our air traffic controllers, who provided short-cuts on a tactical level, the original planned flight distance declined by 14.51 km per flight. This represents 47 kg less fuel and 157 kg less CO2 emissions per flight. Compared with 2011, FABEC ANSPs were able to reduce the extra miles flown per flight by 8.3 percent (2011: 17.88 km).

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