NATS reports upsurge in UK air traffic

NATS reports upsurge in UK air traffic

Air traffic in the UK increased in January and February compared to those months last year, with NATS, the UK’s major air traffic management company, handling more than 159,000 flights in each of the first two months of 2015.

NATS handled 164,805 flights in January, an increase of 1.6 per cent, compared to the same month last year, with 412 minutes of delays attributable to NATS - a 65 per cent reduction on the 1,190 minutes in January 2014.

There was a 3.1 per cent increase of traffic last month compared to that in February 2014, as NATS handled 159,439 flights.

London City Airport led the growth in traffic for the first two months in 2015 with a 16.4 per cent rise in January and a 24.8 per cent increase in February – which was mainly due to an increase in ski flights to continental Europe and additional capacity routes made to Edinburgh and Dublin.

Stansted’s traffic levels increased 12 per cent in January and Southampton continued its run of strong growth with a 13.7 per cent rise in flights in February.

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Looking at all flights handled by NATS, February saw ‘Non-transatlantic over flights’ lead the market segment with a growth of 7.8 per cent, followed by domestic flights, which recorded a seven per cent rise - an increase for the fourth consecutive month.

The increase in the domestic market segment was due to additional routes being added to the airline winter schedules, predominantly at Bournemouth and East Midlands airports.

NATS attributable delay totalled 4,939 minutes in February - a 5.8 per cent increase on the comparable delay performance recorded in the same month last year.

This was due to the high demand of returning traffic at the end of the school half term holiday on February 22nd.

Martin Rolfe, managing director operations, NATS, said: “The February half term is always a particularly busy time for us in managing that sheer demand of traffic, which is why there was an increase in delay.

“However, it has been a successful start to the year with NATS safely managing an increase in traffic in both January and February compared to last year’s figures.

“We’re glad that we were able to continue to provide a safe and efficient operation for our airline customers.”