Weather, lack of ATC capacity hits FABEC service

Flights through FABEC airspace increased moderately over the first six months of 2015 – on average by 1.6 per cent despite a significant variation in traffic at the various control centres.

FABEC’s six FABEC states include Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland is one of the busiest and most complex in the world. Most major European airports, major civil airways and military training areas are located in this area. FABEC airspace covers 1.7 million km² with about 5.5 million flights per year accounting for 55 per cent of European air traffic.

Overall, the first half year of the second reference period (2015-2019) showed a continuation of the trend of the previous months with traffic growing the most in the northwest of FABEC airspace (Brussels and Amsterdam).

Between January until June, the average ATFM delay per en-route flight was 0.58 minutes and thus close to the target for the whole of 2015 (0.48 minutes per flight). It was a slight improvement compared with the previous year’s value of 0.64 minutes.

The increase in capacity-related delay that was observed in 2014 continued in 2015. It was the major cause of the diminished operational service quality, well ahead of industrial action or poor weather conditions. This meant that the ATFM delay caused by air navigation services – without weather and industrial action – increased from 0.29 to 0.36 minutes per flight.

In the first two quarters of 2015, the number of take-offs and landings in FABEC increased slightly by 0.8 per cent. In total, FABEC tower controllers handled 1,236,186 flights (previous year 1,226,640). The average ATFM delay per arrival got worse, from 0.56 to 0.80 minutes per flight. In particular, this was observed at the airports in Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich and Frankfurt. Bad weather caused 57 per cent of this negative development. Only 0.14 minutes per flight can be attributed to air navigation services.

Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, News, Single European Sky

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