11 FEBRUARY 2019
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The aviation industry is continuing to break records with last year the busiest to date for air traffic across the UK. Figures showed higher levels than in 2007, the previous peak year prior to the economic downturn, bringing a warning on the need for airspace modernisation.
In its latest statistics summary, air navigation service provider NATS says the UK broke its annual air traffic record by 0.3%, with 2,557,780 flights in 2018 compared with 2,550,102 in 2007.
This marks six consecutive years of growth since traffic started to increase again after the global financial crisis, with the summer months in particular seeing many previous records broken as travel in May, June and July exceeded previous peaks.
The record for one day was a high of 8,854 flights handled by NATS controllers recorded on 25 May last year.
NATS says despite increased traffic levels, delay figures have improved, with an average per-flight delay in 2018 of 12.5sec compared with 26.8sec in 2007. This represents a 60% reduction, attributable in part to new technology coming in.
NATS operations director Juliet Kennedy said: “Air travel has never been more popular but this increased demand on our airspace does put it under pressure. The next few years are critical to futureproof our skies and we are working on it.”
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