Traffic far below forecast – punctuality consistently high – slight recovery in sight

- Langen, Germany

In the first half of 2013, the number of aircraft movements was 12 percent below the figure forecasted for the FABEC Performance Plan. This disappointing news overshadowed the altogether positive development of the service quality delivered by the seven FABEC air navigation service providers ANA (Luxembourg), Belgocontrol (Belgium), DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), LVNL (Netherlands), MUAC (EUROCONTROL), and skyguide (Switzerland). The number of controlled flights was 350,000 below the forecast made for the European area three years ago. Above all, this affects the financial situation of the air navigation service providers due to the unplanned decrease of revenues. Somewhat positive signals, however, can be seen in the second quarter of the year. Following the drastic downturn at the beginning of 2012, aircraft movements now seem to have levelled off at the figures of the previous year.

Prof. Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS, who is also responsible for financial and performance issues in FABEC, emphasised: "This development clearly shows that adequate regulation cannot be based on traffic forecasts. The regulatory approach must be adapted. If this is not done, the air navigation service providers will experience severe financial problems and, in consequence, this will jeopardise Europe's position as a location of business and investment since urgent investments required for the technology-driven air transport industry would have to be put on hold."

In the first half of 2013, the service quality provided by the seven FABEC air navigation service providers improved further. In this period, the average en-route air traffic flow management delay per controlled flight decreased from 0.59 minutes in the first half of 2012 to 0.50 minutes in the first half of 2013 – although industrial action against plans of the European Commission to further tighten the SES regulations hampered the overall system. The total amount of delay decreased from 1.6 million minutes in 2012 to 1.3 million minutes in 2013. In the first half of 2013, only 2.08 percent (2012: 2.81 percent) of all 2.602 million controlled flights experienced delays.

Roland Beran


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