Are you one of those international travellers looking to holiday in Europe for the summer? Well, be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time in the airport. The number of flight delays in the continent has been surging for the past few years and predictions suggest that the situation will only become worse.
A large number of travellers, especially Americans, are heading to Europe for the holidays, thanks to low-cost carriers like Iceland and Norway’s WOW expanding their services for the US market. The carrier has added more flights from various cities, which has forced competitors within the US market to do the same. The end result – more flights to Europe from the US.
Needless to say, this is only going to boost the traveller traffic within Europe, which already struggles with a large volume of flyers. Delays and cancellations have practically become the norm these days.
The numbers prove it
According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), a trade organization that serves airline companies across the globe, the number of flight delays in Europe has gone up considerably – up by 133% in the first half of 2018 alone.
A majority of the delays were the result of improper staffing and shortages in capacity, while the rest were primarily caused as a result of strikes and adverse weather conditions. The average delay time for delays caused by air traffic control restrictions was 20 minutes. However, the longest delay recorded lasted 337 minutes or 5.5 hours.
There has been an increase in the number of flights and routes within Europe as well due to the increase in demand from passengers. This has, of course, lead to the Air Navigation Service Providers or ANSPs facing great pressure, according to the International Air Transport Association.
IATA also stated that the ANSPs in Europe did not make the necessary investments for smoother operations and even now, choose to operate with standard profit margins. What this means is that some ANSPs operate with fewer staff than necessary or follow employment practices that are completely outdated. This leads to them being unable to deploy people when there is a real need. This is one of the reasons why the number of delays has gone up drastically.
Majority of the ANSPs have been complacent about investing in technology that allows for high capacity operations and management.
In order to overcome the problem of flight delays and cancellations, foreign travellers in Europe are now being asked to choose other modes of transportation. For instance, many have already considered trains as a viable alternative to help them get around the continent.
After all, Europe is home to a wide rail network that boasts speed and efficiency. It’s also one of the cheaper ways to get around. More importantly, rail networks typically do not experience the sort of delays currently plaguing European aviation. Most trains also depart from central locations, which saves plenty of time. On the contrary, getting to an airport in a country like the UK or France can be quite challenging.