Increased traffic growth in the first half of 2018; very high punctuality of air traffic control

Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation services provider (ANSP), operated and monitored 614,348 IFR flights in the first six months of 2018, an increase of 4.1% over the same period last year. Despite the significantly higher volume of traffic, skyguide achieved an excellent operating performance in the first half of 2018. 96.6% of all flights were handled without delay by air traffic control in Europe's most complex airspace.

Significantly more flights

The monthly volume of air traffic handled by skyguide increased steadily in the first half of 2018. The largest increase was recorded in June at 5.8%. Traffic growth in the first half of the year was at the level of the European average – strongly influenced by the increase in flights from Turkey, Spain, Poland and Israel (more than 100 flights per day each).


Eurocontrol’s statistics confirm that the development of traffic volumes in the first half of 2018 shows strong differences between traffic categories. However, all market segments are growing, with the charter segment recording the highest growth. This is due to the strong increase in tourist flows between North Africa and Europe, the Middle East and Russia.


Development of air traffic volume in the first half of the year by category (Europe)

Charter flights + 20.6%
Traditional airlines + 4.5%
Cargo flights + 2.3%
Business aviation + 2.2%
Low-cost carriers + 1.6%


The first-half growth in en-route traffic volumes handled in Switzerland – 6.5% – is 2.5 points above of the growth of period January-June 2017. The number of controlled movements (takeoffs and landings) throughout Switzerland, on the other hand, has stagnated (+0.3%). Zurich airport records a rise of 2.3% in IFR movements, whereas Geneva airport records a decrease of the same magnitude (-2.3%). The traffic handled at Switzerland’s regional airports shows a small decrease (-0.1%).


Skyguide’s Geneva and Dübendorf area control centres or ACCs are both in growth, with 1.7% and 5.6% respectively, with the growth in Zurich ACC being higher than expected.


Skyguide’s busiest day to date in the first half of 2018 was Friday 29 June, when a total of 4,380 flights were handled.


2018 first-half movement volumes by area control centre and airport:


Weather is the main reason for delays

Most air traffic control delays occur during peak times. Average delays (delays/flights) increased by 19.1% in the first six months compared to the previous year. In fact, only 3.4% of flights were affected by these delays. 50% of these delays are due to the weather. 40% of delays were caused by a significantly higher traffic load than forecast.