Air traffic numbers fall in October

26 November 2019

In October, NATS handled 228,355 flights in UK airspace, 0.5% less air traffic when compared to October 2018. However, traffic for the year has increased by 1.2% overall.

Both of NATS’ air traffic control (ATC) centres, Swanwick and Prestwick handled 0.5% less traffic than in October last year, although growth continued in some areas of the operation compared to the same month last year, for example transatlantic overflights were up by 10%. There was also growth at 5 of the 14 airports where NATS provides the ATC service, including two of the ’big five’ London Airports – London City and Luton.

NATS handled almost 24% of all the traffic in Europe in October with 99.3% of the 228,355 flights experiencing no delay from NATS. Year to date, the average air traffic control delay per flight is 9.5 seconds.

Juliet Kennedy, NATS Operations Director, said: “The collapse of Thomas Cook resulted in a marked decline in non-transatlantic arrivals and departures last month, which impacted air traffic figures overall. We would expect recovery in that segment in the coming months as other airlines begin to purchase the slots left by the tour operator.”

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