In 2010, aviation in Europe pulled out of the economic downturn and began to climb again. The total number of flights in Europe in 2010 was 9.49 million, an increase of 0.8% compared to 2009.
Growth was driven mainly by low-cost carriers, which saw an increase of 6.9% compared to 2009, though this slowed markedly at the end of the year. Business aviation also contributed strongly to growth, bouncing back from 2009 with an increase of 5.5%. Flight growth was concentrated in a few States: Turkey, Italy, Ukraine and Germany were the States adding most traffic to the European network. The economic crisis and a series of general strikes reduced traffic in Greece overall; and the UK and Ireland both ended the year with fewer flights than the already reduced levels of 2009. Russia was a clear source of growth this year, and indeed for one month during the Summer passed the US as the main external partner for Europe.
In 2010, the delays increased from an average of 1.6 minutes per flight in 2009 to 2.7 minutes per flight in 2010.
2010 also saw significant flight cancellations as a result of weather, the ash-clouds, strikes and capacity shortages. An estimated 175,000 scheduled flights were cancelled during the year. Even if the effects of the ash-cloud are removed, this is 2.5 times as many cancellations as in 2009.
"In 2010 we already saw the beginnings of growth and in 2011, we expect further increase of at least 3.6% in the number of flights across Europe. This will come from the bounce-back from the ash-cloud, but also as airlines continue to search for the right level of capacity to meet the post-economic crisis demand", said David Marsh, Head of Forecasting at EUROCONTROL. "The upside and downside risks to the forecast are probably in balance across Europe as a whole, but between individual States, we will continue to see strong divergence."
These forecasts are actively used to plan the necessary and most beneficial actions in supporting the network to reduce delays and improve the capacity to achieve the EU performance targets.
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