Air traffic delays down 87% during Olympics

Nats tower southampton airport

Inside Nats tower at Southampton Airport

The number of Air traffic delays in the UK during the three months of the Olympic Games which could be attributed to  National Air Traffic Services were almost 87% down on the same period during 2011.

And the delay that was generated during July, August and September in the UK accounted for just 1% of the European total despite NATS handling 22% of European air traffic.

Figures just released showed that that the total number of minutes of delay attributable to NATS during the three months of air traffic movements during the Olympics and Paralympic Games was 12,981. In 2011 the figure for the three months had been 98,326.

The delay figures were also 97% on the figures for the same period in 2007 when air traffic was its peak, and 96 % down on 2004 when traffic levels were about the same as they are today.

NATS Managing Director Martin Rolfe said:

“We spent a long time preparing for this summer and the Olympics and Paralympic Games knowing that we would face challenges to keep air traffic flowing.

“To have delivered the service that we did with so little delay over the three month period is testament to the planning and preparation as well as the investment in systems and staff that we put in place to handle these events.

“We are continually striving to provide the most efficient and safe air traffic service we can while working to reduce our operating costs still further than the 30 per cent they have come down since privatisation 10 years ago.”

The total number of UK flights during the three months of the summer was down by 1.3% on the same period in 2011, although there was an increase in traffic in the London area specifically around the start and end of the Olympic Games.

The number of flights in UK airspace was down 11.7% on the total for the July to September period in 2007 when traffic was at its peak – 607,081 this year compared to 687,771 in 2007.

NATS have their London Area Control Centre based at Swanwick and their Headquarters are in Whitley.

Photo: NATS

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