first six months of 2013, a 3.7% decline on the comparable volume for the same period last year. The weak traffic volumes and the actions taken by Switzerland’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) to increase its airspace capacity continue to yield results on punctuality: some 96.4% of all the flights handled were managed without delays. Eurocontrol also gives skyguide a top ranking among Europe’s ANSPs in productivity terms.
Fewer flights handled
The difficult global economic situation has been depressing air traffic levels since the
end of 2011. The statistics maintained by Eurocontrol show volume declines in all
market segments in Europe (except for charter flights) for the first half of 2013:
Cargo traffic: down 3.8%
Business aviation: down 2.6%
Charter flights: up 1.3%
Scheduled airline traffic: down 2.7%
Low-cost carrier traffic: down 0.4%.
While some of Switzerland’s airports report increases in passenger numbers for the
period, traffic volumes as a whole have declined.
IFR flights1 handled by skyguide in the first half of 2013:
The volume of en-route traffic handled by skyguide for the first half of 2013 was a 4.6%
decline on the same period last year. The total number of landings and departures
handled at Switzerland’s airports declined by 2.6%. Geneva Airport posted a decrease
of 1.6%, while Zurich saw its flight volumes fall by 3.0%.
Area control centres report volume declines
The numbers of flight movements that an ANSP’s control centre is required to handle
are a key indicator of the workloads involved. Of significance here is the decline in
traffic volumes seen for skyguide’s Geneva and Zurich area control centres.
Daily peak of 3,900 flights on 28 June 2013
Skyguide’s busiest day to date in 2013 was Friday 28 June, when 3,900 flights were
handled. This peak volume is 2.0% lower than the busiest day in the first half of 2012,
with its 3,980 flights.
Less traffic – top punctuality performance
As in the previous year, skyguide showed an excellent operational performance with
96.4% of its flights without any delay at all – slightly less than the outstanding 2012
Capacity-based air traffic delays usually occur during peak hours. Although the traffic
volumes declined during the first-half 2013, capacity demand during peak hours was
continuously high. This explains en-route delays in the airspace controlled by skyguide.
Nevertheless, skyguide's punctuality still clearly exceeds the European targets set for
En-route delays for the first half of 2013 were 1.6% below their prior-year equivalent.
Airport delays increased by 25.5% over the same period.
- The average airport delay attributable to air traffic flow management per flight amounted to 0.49 minutes (= 29.4 seconds).
- The average en-route delay attributable to air traffic flow management per flight amounted to 0.11 minutes (= 6.6 seconds).
The average number of delayed flights per day for the period increased slightly from
106 in the first-half 2012 to 111 in 2013.
Highly complex airspace
As statistics maintained by Eurocontrol show, skyguide manages the most complex
airspace in Europe. This poses sizeable operational challenges, in terms of both the
sheer volumes of flights handled and the structure of its air traffic flows.
Europe’s fourth-highest productivity
In productivity terms, too, skyguide can report a top-quality performance. The 2012
Eurocontrol Performance Review Report puts Switzerland’s air navigation service
provider fourth in Europe in controller productivity terms. Skyguide is only surpassed
here by the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC), NATS and DFS.
Skyguide Media Release