A report on how Europe’s air traffic management system performed in 2014 has just been published by the independent Performance Review Commission (PRC) of EUROCONTROL.
It gives an independent assessment of the key performance areas of safety, capacity, flight-efficiency and cost-efficiency.
After the decrease in flights in the past two years, traffic increased again by 1.7% in 2014 with a positive medium-term outlook. “Traffic in Europe was affected by a number of events in 2014, most notably the tragic loss of MH17 in Ukraine which resulted in significant shifts of traffic flows. In some States, traffic increased far beyond forecast levels but, thanks to the effort of the air navigation service providers, the unforeseen demand could be accommodated without significant delay,” explains Ralph Riedle, PRC Chairman.
Overall, safety levels in Europe remain high, yet there is scope for improvement, particularly related to the reporting of incidents.
En-route ATFM delays in the EUROCONTROL area increased again slightly to 0.61 minutes per flight in 2014, after the best year on record in 2013. “Some area control centres do not provide sufficient capacity and, in view of the considerable lead times, more focus needs to be placed on capacity planning and deployment so as to avoid significant disruptions in the future,” cautions Ralph Riedle.
Despite the unexpected shifts in traffic flows, en-route flight efficiency improved in 2014: more can still be done. PRC research is ongoing to better understand and quantify the individual contributing factors, such as route network design, flight planning, and civil-military coordination.
On a pan-European level, ANS cost-efficiency performance improved in 2013, the latest year for which actual costs data is available. Compared with 2012, real en-route costs per service unit decreased by -3.3% and terminal unit costs by -3.6%.