2018’s air traffic in a nutshell

10 January 2019

Europe’s air traffic increased by 3.8% in 2018, compared with the year before, to reach an all-time record of 11,011,434 flights, with daily average traffic of 30,168 flights.

There were 19 days in 2018 with over 36,000 flights – there were none in 2017. The network had its busiest day and all-time record on 7 September with 37,101 flights. Strong growth in November 2018 (4.2%) and in December 2018 (5.2%) helped achieve the final result.

The network generated a total of 19.1 million minutes of en-route delay (up 105% on 2017). The average en-route delay per flight for the whole year was 1.73 minutes (note that the EU-wide performance target for the year is 0.5 minutes) and the average delay per delayed flight was 19 minutes.

The generators of delays for 2018 were:

  • capacity and staffing (60.4%)
  • weather (25.3%)
  • strikes/disruptive events (14.3%).

Focusing on December: this month was the year’s highest month for traffic growth at 5.2%, with a total of more than 799,100 flights. The average en-route delay per flight was 0.71 minutes. The average delay per delayed flight was 18 minutes and the worst delayed flight took place on 23 December; it had 359 minutes of delay. En-route capacity and staffing issues were responsible for 82.3% of delays in December, while weather issues generated 2.1% of the delays. Strikes/disruptive events caused 15.6%.

In collaboration with the ANSPs and airlines, the EUROCONTROL Network Manager is pushing forward with seven specific network measures that are designed to mitigate delays in 2019. Watch this space for updates!

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