EUROCONTROL Annual Report 2015

11 August 2016


2015 was a year that saw significant advances made through effective collaboration but also saw major challenges for the European ATM Network. Traffic grew by 1.5% to 9.89 million flights but with significant geographic variations, for example Ukraine where traffic as significantly lower than in 2014 and also in the area around Germany. Significantly higher German air navigation charges, together with relatively low fuel costs, resulted in many flights avoiding German airspace, thus increasing traffic in some neighbouring countries.

There were other local issues that had an impact on the network results. For example, the increase in demand resulted in increased airport delays at both Istanbul airports. In north-west France, there were capacity delays through the summer and, when the implementation of a new system began in November, this resulted in 2015 delays of over 600,000 minutes. These delays continued into the early part of 2016.

Although the impact of industrial action in 2015 was less that in 2014 (and much less than has been seen so far in 2016), this also had an impact on the network performance. Overall, the en-route ATFM delay for the year was 0.73 minutes, which meant that the Single European Sky target of 0.5 minutes per flight was not achieved. However, the performance was still significantly better than in 2007 (1.3 minutes of en-route ATFM delays), which was the last year with broadly comparable traffic levels. The delay also remains a small proportion of the overall 10.4 minutes of delay per flight experienced by passengers.

Indeed, as we mark twenty years of central flow management in Europe, we are currently experiencing levels of ATFM delay that are historically very low, despite the levels of traffic. However, as traffic rises to new highs from 2017 onwards, delays and capacity will be a significant challenge for all stakeholders in European aviation.

The twenty year anniversary of central flow management was recently recognised at an event in which Henrik Hololei, the Director General of DG MOVE, spoke of “an unparalleled success story – a true team effort”. This is indicative of the strong and positive direction that is being taken by the relationship between the European Commission and EUROCONTROL. We have complementary strengths and collaboration between us is clearly for the benefit of European ATM as a whole.

This can be seen in our continuing partnership in the SESAR Joint Undertaking, which is being extended to 2024. I hope and believe that this will also be reflected in the renomination of EUROCONTROL as Network Manager.

The Centralised Services initiative is all about collaboration; by the end of 2015, 11 calls for tenders had been published and bids received for six of them (CS1, CS4, CS6-2, CS6-3, CS7-2 and CS7-3); the bids for fie more services (CS6-4, 6-5, 6-6, 6-7 and 7-1) were received in the first quarter of 2016 and evaluations have started with the objective of letting contracts in 2016.

Another example of effective collaboration is the extended mandate that has been given to the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) to operate military, as well as civilian, air traffic control services. This will be for the north German (Hannover UIR) and Dutch airspace (Amsterdam FIR). This decision by our Member States means that MUAC will be able to drive improved efficiency and capacity in the core area of Europe which already handles over 5,000 flights every day.

EUROCONTROL is based on collaboration and this continues to be a key principle underlying the EUROCONTROL family – a family which is growing with the accession of Estonia at the beginning of 2015 and the Comprehensive Agreements with Morocco and Israel, signed in 2016.