2018: Worst year for ATC delays in Europe in nearly a decade


2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst years on record for air traffic control delays and flight cancellations in nearly a decade.

Eurocontrol has revealed that ATC capacity and staff shortages led to a 50 per cent increase in delayed flights in October compared to last year. For the full year, Eurocontrol estimates that total delay minutes will be up by 53 per cent versus last year due to strikes and capacity shortages (14.3 million minutes in 2018 versus 9.3 million minutes in 2017). So far in 2018, A4E member airlines have been forced to cancel over 5,000 flights due to ATC strikes, affecting around 800,000 passengers. Millions more travellers have suffered flight delays caused by other ATC issues such as staff shortages, airspace diversions and residual backups. Airlines for Europe (A4E) is urging the EU and national governments to take swift and decisive action to reform Europe’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) system. “The current crisis has to be addressed. The way to remove air space inefficiencies is to introduce a seamless European sky. This would integrate national airspaces into a single continuum across the continent”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, A4E.