UK air traffic up in 2013
UK air traffic rose slightly in 2013 compared with 2012, despite European strike action and bad weather.
NATS handled 2,153,995 flights in 2013 - a rise of 0.4% - in spite of external problems causing delays and flight cancellations. But figures are still well below peak numbers in 2007, when air traffic was almost 13% higher than in 2013.
Considering all flights handled in UK airspace, the best performing segment during 2013 was ‘Non-Transatlantic Overflights’ - up 2.5%. In contrast, the worst performing segment, ‘Domestic’ saw a 2.5% decline.
Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) traffic in 2013 rose significantly in Scotland, with Aberdeen seeing growth of 5.7% and Glasgow a rise of 3.2%. But IFR traffic declined in other areas, such as Cardiff, down 7.7% and Bristol, down 7.3%.
Technical issues at Swanwick on 7 December 2013, coupled with bad weather in early December and at Christmas, severely impacted flights during the month. NATS-attributable delays saw an increase in average delay to 89.3 minutes per delayed flight in December, compared with 20.1 minutes in 2012.
But NATS handled 152,340 flights during December - a rise of 2.1% compared with December 2012.
However, the overall NATS average delay for the UK for 2013 was just ~5 seconds per flight - the European average for the same period was ~25 seconds delay per flight.
NATS' MD Operations comments:
'We have successfully managed the slight increase in air traffic this year, keeping safety as our number one priority. A total of 2,153,995 movements were handled by NATS, signifying growth, and we’re looking forward to supporting an even busier and more successful 2014.'
Details from NATS below . .