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Europe’s airlines complain about ATC delays
Frankfurt Airport. © Fraport

Europe’s airlines complain about ATC delays

Airline CEOs are unhappy about excessive ATC regulations leading to widespread disruptions over the summer period.

CEOs of European airlines have complained to the region’s Air Navigation Service providers (ANSPs) about “excessive ATC regulations” resulting in widespread disruptions over the summer period.

In a joint letter to European ANSPs, CEOs of Airlines For Europe (A4E) member airlines expressed their concerns regarding the disruption caused by air traffic control restrictions this summer. A4E is calling on all EU ANSPs to take remedial action to address this both in the short and longer term.

According to Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E, delays rose to more than two million minutes in July — an increase of 12% compared to 2016 and 35% compared to 2015. Nearly 70% of all ATC regulations in July 2017 were non-weather related and caused by issues such as ATC capacity, staffing, and other issues which are within ANSPs’ control, Reynaert says.

The association claims that excessive ATC regulations have meant that airlines have had to fly longer routes or that the number of flights on certain routes have been restricted, which then causes knock-on effects throughout the network.

A4E is calling for the Single European Sky — the ongoing effort to increase the capacity and reduce the cost of the European air traffic management (ATM) system — to be implemented without delay.

In reply, CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, acknowledges that unexpectedly high traffic this summer caused some shortfalls in ATM capacity in Europe. The organisation notes, however, that the 12% figure is for July only whereas the rolling 12 months trend shows continuous improvement since July 2016.

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