2023 will be “another difficult year for European aviation”

by Lorraine Williamson
European aviation

MADRID – Eurocontrol’s latest “Performance Review Report” shows that “2023 will be another difficult year for European aviation”. There is a concern in the aviation sector about the threats looming in 2023, especially during the peak periods.

Eurocontrol warns that if measures are not taken at European airports, the numerous delays and cancellations of the past summer period will repeat themselves. Last summer was historic due to poor punctuality figures. In July, 52% of flights departed with a delay of up to 15 minutes over the scheduled time. 

Related post: Spain tourism sector desperate and angry about chaos at airports 

The chairman of the Performance Review Commission, Marinus de Jong, warns that “it will require a huge effort from all parties to avoid a repeat of the situation of the summer of 2022 when almost one in two flights was late and countless flights were cancelled and countless passengers were stranded at airports. 

Unwilling to deploy sufficient capacity 

The chaos is predicted on the basis that airline service providers are still unwilling to commit enough capacity to meet the high demand. In addition, the war in Ukraine will continue to have a negative impact on airspace availability and flight efficiency. 

De Jong laments that if last year’s situation were to repeat itself, there would be an “unacceptably high” level of delays and cancellations. “The entire industry was unable to scale operations at the pace needed to meet increased demand.” 

European aviation will not return to the pre-pandemic level until 2025 

On the other hand, everything indicates that 2023 will not be the year in which air traffic returns to pre-covid levels. Eurocontrol fears that the war, resulting in high energy prices and inflation will result in a number of flights in Europe below the 2019 levels until 2025. To give an idea of what still needs to be done, 9.2 million flights were carried out in the Eurocontrol area last year. Although this figure is almost 50% higher than in 2021, it is still 17% lower than in 2019. 

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In Spain, the national air navigation manager, Enaire, has just announced its special plan for the summer. It includes technical measures to restructure the airspace and strengthen the workforce in air traffic control, technical departments and services. In terms of personnel, this means that the entity under the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Agenda City will have 80 more air traffic controllers than in August 2019, a record year for air traffic. 

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