May sees busiest day of the year so far for air traffic

UK provider NATS handled 236,122 flights in UK airspace last month, an increase of 1.6% compared to May 2018.

There was growth in most areas of the operation, in particular in non-transatlantic international overflying traffic. Traffic grew at nine of the 13 airports where NATS controls, compared with the same month last year, including the ’big five’ London Airports.

NATS handled almost a quarter of all the traffic in Europe in May and the levels of air traffic control delay in UK airspace were very low; across all 236,122 flights handled in May, 99.7% had no NATS attributable delay. Year to date, the average air traffic control delay per flight is just 2.2 seconds.

Juliet Kennedy, NATS Operations Director, said: “May is always a busy month for us, especially the last week when the half term holidays, Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival all contribute to increased traffic levels; and this year we also had two football finals adding extra commercial and private flights. Our busiest day of the year so far was 24 May, with 8,742 flights in UK controlled airspace; we also handled our one millionth flight on 28 May.

“It takes a lot of planning and hard work to safely handle such a vast number of flights with minimal delay and we hope to continue to provide the same excellent service throughout the summer as more and more people head off on their holidays.”