Every month Eurocontrol publishes the results of the work of the Network Manager – currently housed in Eurocontrol. It as good as it gets for working out what is happening to aviation in Europe.
Traffic flow and the leading numbers in August
Due to overflights and growing internal flightsan increase of 2.4% in traffic for August 2014 compared to August 2013 was registered. Given that overflights and internal flights define all the flying that is possible, it is perhaps not surprising that this upward trend was above the high forecast.
The highest traffic increases in August 2014 were recorded in Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen, Athens, London Luton, Brussels National, Lisbon, Ibiza, London Stansted and Istanbul Ataturk
Germanwings, Aegean Airlines, Vueling, Wizz Air, Pegasus, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Qatar
Airways, Sunexpress and Monarch Airlines were the operators with the highest traffic growth.
Having approximately 500 additional flights per day, Turkey and Greece have placed themselves as leaders in the local European traffic network, closely followed by Italy, Spain and the UK.
It seems like the traffic in moving south-est during summer, due to the popular vacation destinations. UK’s place could be explained by its influential position in making better connections for more exotic preferences and Brussels is a well known important business area where the flow is constantly high.
Low-cost services have recorded a sustained growth of 6.7% in August 2014, while the traditional scheduled and all-cargo segments have increased by 1% as compared to August 2013.
The most significant decline in traffic rates was registered in Lyon Saint Exupery, Bergen
Flesland, Praha Ruzyne, Edinburgh, Marseille Provence and Warsaw Chopin airports.
The operators that have registered the highest traffic reduction compared to August 2013 were Lufthansa, Flybe (affected by fleet downsizing), Aeroflot Russian (affected by Ukrainian crisis) and LOT Polish Airlines.
The sad event of the flight MH17 on 17 July accelerated the ongoing traffic decline for Ukraine, counterbalancinga positive trend in countries like Bulgaria (+31%), Turkey (+27%), Romania
(+22%) and Slovakia (18.6%).
The traffic in Ukraine has decreased by 252 flights daily in August, a fall of 41% compared to August 2013. The sensitive situation of Ukraine has influenced a decrease of the overall traffic of 55% in the country, while reducing the air traveling rates in neighbouring countries (e.g. Moldova: -48%) as well. These changes have had a significant impact outside Europe as well, with a decrease of almost 7% to and from the Russian Federation as compared to August 2013.
As opposed to low cost carrier flights, charter was the weakest of the market segments, registering a decrease of 1.9% compared to August 2013.
Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) delays:
Compared to August 2013, August 2014 recorded an increase of 98.1% of total ATFM delays. 89% of the delays are: en-route capacity (ATC) (36.8%), airport weather (16.8%), airport capacity (15.2%), en-route weather (10.3%) and en-route staffing (9.8%).
The rest is industrial, which is a nice way to say ‘strikes’ by staff.
Perhaps what this huge percentage number shows is that we are working at the margins. There are few AFTM delays, so a few minutes here or there had a distorting impact on the percentages.Here is what it looks like:
Athens ACC recorded the highest number of delays in August mainly due to en-route staffing (ATC) issues and en-route capacity (ATC). 62.7% of all the ATFM delays in Europe can be attributed to en-route delays, most of them being caused by ATC capacity, weather and ATC staffing issues.
As a result of airspace restrictions caused by Israeli military operations, the highest average en-route delay per flight was recorded at Nicosia ACC, which was closely followed by Athens ACC. It experienced en-route delays caused by en-route staffing (ATC) and en-route capacity (ATC) issues.
Out of the total August ATFM delays, 37.3% were attributed to weather and airport constrictions
The highest airport capacity (ATC) delay registered was caused by a security issue in Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion. Weather disruptions have particularly affected IstanbulAtaturk, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airports.
Based on the data collected by the Central Office for Delay Analysis, that covers 60% of the commercial flights in the ECAC region for July 2014, the average departure delay per flight was registered at 12.5 minutes per flight. This represents an increase of 26% in comparison to the 9.9 minutes per flight registered in July 2013. The en-route ATFM delays were counted at 0.6 minutes per flight. In August 2014 the percentage for both early and late departures increased compared to July.
Due to the potential eruption of the Bárðarbunga volcano, between 24 and 25 August 2014 the NM was on a “pre-alert” position and the aviation status was raisedto red.
In August 2014, the NM saved 888 minutes of daily delay at a cost of 141 extra nautical miles, proposing alternative routes to an average of 36 flights per day, out of which 21 were accepted. This is again proof that an optimized network (time saving) is not necessarily the sum of optimized flights (shortest route).