UK air traffic continues to rise

15 May 2015

UK air traffic increased by 1.2% in April compared to the same month last year, with no en-route delay attributable to NATS for 99.95% of flights.

Last month NATS – the UK’s leading air traffic control company – handled 192,843 flights, with a 6.4% increase of ‘transatlantic arrivals/departures’ leading the growth in the UK market.

‘Transatlantic overflights’ (3.6%) and ‘domestic flights’ (3.5%) were also up from April 2014’s figures.

The rise in all market sectors last month was not only because of the introduction of the airline’s summer schedules, but also due to a run of good weather conditions. April also saw industrial action by air traffic controllers in France, with some airlines choosing to re-route through UK airspace.

Traffic was up in April at all the UK airports where NATS provides a service, with London City (15.0%), Glasgow (9.4%) and Stansted (7.1%) showing the largest increases. There was 1,511 minutes of NATS attributable delay in April 2015, up from 716 minutes in April 2014. However, the average en-route delay per flight remained at historically low levels at just 0.47 seconds.

Martin Rolfe, Managing Director Operations, NATS, said: “Several airports have reported record passenger numbers last month and that has been mirrored by a rise in air traffic. This is both an encouraging sign for the industry as a whole and an indicator of the wider economic recovery.

“Although the French industrial action caused some disruption to flights, we safely handled high levels of traffic choosing to re-route through UK airspace on those days.

“April also saw the introduction of the airline summer schedules marking the beginning of the busiest period of the year and we have already put preparations in place to ensure we maintain our levels of service as traffic levels rise.”


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