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Skyguide’s 2016: air navigation services maintain high punctuality levels, despite greater traffic volumes

Skyguide, Switzerland’s air navigation services provider, saw another 1.8% rise last year in its air traffic volumes, as it had for 2015. At 1.9%, en-route traffic witnessed slightly weaker growth than the previous year, while the growth in traffic to and from Switzerland’s airports doubled to 0.9%. Skyguide handled almost 1.2 million flights in 2016, some 21 300 more than the previous year. En-route punctuality was further improved, with delays declining 1.4% to an average of just four seconds per flight. Delays to arriving and departing traffic were reduced by a substantial 24.6%. Once again, the persistently low oil price and the Eurozone’s economic recovery helped raise annual traffic volumes.

Punctuality further improved
Skyguide again achieved very high punctuality levels for the year. Some 97.2% of all flights were handled without delays, a 0.4-percentage-point improvement on 2015.
As in 2015, the average delay to en-route flights was just 0.07 minutes or four seconds per flight. The delays that did occur here were attributable primarily to short-term capacity shortages (41%), unfavourable weather conditions (25%), unforeseeable temporary personnel shortages (29%), maintenance work (3%).
Delays reduced at Zurich and Geneva
Both Zurich and Geneva airports saw substantial reductions in the volumes of delays in 2016. Delays at Geneva declined by 39%. The delays incurred were attributable to adverse weather (76%), insufficient runway capacity (12%), personnel shortages (10%) and inadequate approach capacity (2%).
Delays were also reduced at Zurich, by 20%. The causes of these delays were adverse weather conditions (43%), insufficient runway capacity (35%), environmental constraints (16%) and inadequate approach capacity (6%).
Low-cost carriers continue to expand; Swiss cargo sector sees sharp decline
The 1.8% rise in total traffic volumes for the year was below the February 2016 STATFOR annual growth projection of 2.5%. The air cargo sector, which was very weak throughout Europe, suffered a steep 6.3% decline in Switzerland in 2016 in terms of flights performed. The low-cost carriers, by contrast, continued to expand, and registered 7.7% growth in the volumes of their flights. The traditional airlines recorded slight year-on-year growth of 0.4%. The charter sector suffered a further 7.8% decline (though much of the traffic concerned was flown as scheduled flights instead). Business aviation volumes were up slightly, with an increase of 0.2%.
Instrument flight rules  flights handled in 2016:
                                                  2016           2015           Change
Total IFR flights                        1 198 663  1 177 365      +1.8%
of which en-route traffic            716 159     703 037         +1.9%
Skyguide handled an average of 3 275 flights a day in 2016. The peak traffic day was 1 July, whose 4,162 flights were a new daily record in the company’s history. (Skyguide’s previous busiest-ever day had been 27 June 2008, with 4 153 flights.)