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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released the following statement by its Director General, Willie Walsh, on the performance of European Air Traffic Control:

“Last month I expressed concern about Air Traffic Control (ATC) performance in Europe and the US. Both are disappointing.

The ATC environment that all carriers in Europe are experiencing is challenging. Airlines and airports worked hard to ensure that sufficient resources would be provided to minimize disruptions and get travelers to where they need to be on time. Lack of ATC resources nationally—particularly in Germany and France are preventing that. While some areas of ATC performance have improved over 2022, we remain unacceptably behind 2019 levels.

The most severe impacts are being seen at Europe’s most congested airports—especially London Gatwick where the performance is also affected by local ATC resource issues. Gatwick is now the worst performing airport among the 31 major airports reported by Eurocontrol and sits at number 106 out of the 110 airports covered by the entire data set.

It is disheartening that the politicians who were quick to criticize airlines last year, have remained silent about the disruption caused by government controlled or regulated ATC providers.

What can these politicians do so we don’t have another year of European ATC performance below pre-COVID levels?  To start, they need to be held accountable for the economic and environmental costs of poor ATC performance, so they have an incentive to make better decisions. This summer has shown us that the ‘to do’ list is already well-known—proper staffing, modernization with the Single European Sky and finding ways to maintain essential ATC services during periods of industrial action, while respecting workers’ rights.”

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