European flight traffic has increased by 3.4% in the past first five months compared to the same period last year, resulting in a “dramatic” increase in delays.
55% of the increase in delays has been attributed to staffing/capacity issues, notably in Germany, France and the Low Countries.
Brennan said, “Europe is already struggling to cope with the levels of traffic this year. Our most likely scenario predicts a growth in flights of 1.9% a year between now and 2040. On our most likely scenario, there won’t be enough capacity for approximately 1.5 million flights or 160 million passengers in 2040.”
Many airports will become “much busier”, with “higher delays”, according to Eurocontrol’s latest Challenges of Growth study. It estimates that by 2040, 16 airports will be highly congested operating at close to capacity for much of the day (up from six airports today). “As a result of this congestion the number of passengers delayed by one to two hours will grow from around 50 000 each day (at present) to around 470 000 a day in 2040.”
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