CEOs and COOs from the various aviation partners have met with EUROCONTROL to discuss lessons learned from summer 2023 and how to best prepare for the anticipated challenges expected for summer 2024.
Airlines, Air Navigation Service Providers, Airports and Ground Handlers supported by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager, agreed to join forces and partner together to prepare the aviation network for summer 2024. The initiative will build on the positive results and successful work done in summer 2023. The goal is to ensure that Europe’s aviation network performs as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
Peak traffic during summer 2023 was an important test for the aviation sector. Significant portions of airspace continue to be unavailable for civilian flights due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Analysis of air traffic showed that there was 7% more traffic in summer 2023 than in summer 2022. Despite the traffic increase, Air traffic flow management delays per flight were similar to the previous summer. Weather in summer 2023 was significantly worse than the previous year. Without the significant additional delays caused by weather, ATFM delays per flight in 2023 would have fallen by 18%. We expect traffic to continue to grow with an estimated 10.6 million flights expected in 2024 (10.3 million flights expected for 2023 – base scenario EUROCONTROL STATFOR 7 year forecast).
Based on the lessons learnt from summer 2023, the partners agreed to continue and improve the joint approach that delivered well for the European aviation network this summer. A key evolution will be to improve how adverse weather is managed by strengthening collaborative management in such situations.
In order to optimise the management of summer 2024, the partners agreed to already start with a joint approach that will focus on the following five areas:
- Prioritising first rotation,
- Disciplined flight plan execution,
- Delivering agreed capacities,
- Realistic schedules including turnaround times,
- Adverse weather management.
The partners will continue to work together to finetune the plan that will also include improving operational flexibility, a joint no-blame approach, strengthened focus on aviation environmental performance and continued close cooperation on the Network Operations Plan (NOP) and the Rolling NOP, which includes consolidated data from 350 airlines, 68 area control centres (ACCs), 150 airports and 43 States.
All participants expressed their commitment to work together in full partnership as groups of stakeholders with a common approach to deliver a robust plan addressing the lessons learned from summer 2023 and preparing summer 2024.