Annually, airlines add more flight options to new destinations in an effort to attract and appease travelers with wide-ranging travel desires.
“Air traffic in Europe is on the rise, creating greater demands on the continent’s airspace,” according to a recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) press release.
Air Navigation Service Providers can’t keep up with this growing and increasing demand. European airline delays “have more than doubled” in just one year – from 2017 to 2018 – with no end in sight.
Without increases to staff and technology spending, airline delays will continue to grow. In the first half of 2018 alone, air traffic management delays doubled to hit 47,000 minutes per day, a 133-percent increase from 2017.
“Most of these delays are caused by staffing and capacity shortages as well as other causes such as weather delays and disruptive events such as strikes,” according to the IATA press release.
The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation reports that the average flight delay was 20 minutes, but the longest delay reached 337 minutes in July. IATA has expressed concerns that these increasing delays will impact customer experience during peak travel times.
“We are in the summer season in Europe,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. “Travelers want to get to their holidays on time. And too many will be disappointed because of air traffic delays.”
IATA is pushing for air traffic control reforms, including hiring additional staff and allowing the European Network Manager “to plan and configure the network to meet the demands of air travelers.” IATA has also been lobbying the European Commission to create a “Single European Sky” air traffic control system.
To keep up to date on air traffic management, click here.