Eurocontrol, the European organization for the safety of air navigation, has released an analysis of traffic and delays in Europe in 2007 and predictions for 2008. According to the results of the analysis the number of flights in Europe increased to some 10 million in 2007, a 5.3 percent increase from 2006. Average daily traffic in Europe in 2007 was 27,676 flights per day compared with 26,286 in 2006.
The analysis revealed traffic growth was the strongest in Eastern Europe with several states seeing a growth of 20 percent, whereas growth in Finland, Sweden, the Azores and Canary Islands was lower than the European average. Growth was driven mainly by low cost carriers that saw an increase of 25 percent in 2007 and business aviation with 10 percent between them accounting for all the net new flights.
In 2007, an average 11 percent of flights were delayed. This is an increase from just under 10 percent of flights in 2006. Airlines account for 56 percent of all delays with 16 percent coming from airports, 12 percent from en-route and nine percent from the weather.
Air traffic flow management delays that are caused by air traffic control capacity, staffing, weather, and aerodrome capacity, increased from an average of 1.9 minutes per flight in 2006 to 2.1 minutes per flight in 2007.
The predictions the survey made for 2008 include a growth of 4.2 percent and for the first time 20 percent of all flights are expected to be from low-cost carriers. Air traffic flow management delays for summer 2008 are expected to exceed three minutes per flight, up from 2.6 minutes in the summer of 2007. Traffic growth is expected to be strongest in countries along the Adriatic coast, Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Director General of Eurocontrol David McMillan said: “Europe saw more than 10 million flights in 2007 that is a new record and handling this volume safely, while containing delays and maintaining Europe’s excellent safety record, is a major achievement.”