Air traffic controllers reveal when and where flights are most likely to be delayed this summer

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By Linsey McNeill
04/07/2023
Home » Air traffic controllers reveal when and where flights are most likely to be delayed this summer

Europe’s airspace managers have warned that air traffic control is likely to become overloaded at many key locations this summer.

Eurocontrol said it will experience ‘high overloads’ of traffic on most days over the next eight weeks in many regions, including Marseilles and Reims in France, Athens and Budapest.

It said London, Barcelona, Brussels, Budapest, Nicosia, Warsaw and Zagreb will see high overloads on peak days, especially Fridays and over the summer weekends.

Such overloads could result in delays and flights being forced to take longer routes to avoid constricted areas.

Eurocontrol, which manages the airspace right across Europe, is expecting 8% more flights this summer compared to 2022.

While this will be slightly down on the summer of 2019, Eurocontrol Director-General Raúl Medina said this summer would be ‘challenging’ because there is up to 20% less available airspace due to the warn in Ukraine and the military needs.

Also, there are fewer air traffic controllers due to recruitment issues and an increased threat of strike action, Mr Medina told a meeting of the Airports Council International.

He added: “We need everyone to play their part. Airports need to be well-staffed, it is vital [air traffic services] provide enough capacity and airlines stick to their schedules.

“Recent industrial action caused many delays. We can manage situations like that in quieter periods but if it happens in the middle of summer it will be much more challenging.”

Two UK airports have already had to close temporarily this year due to a shortage of air traffic control staff.

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