January saw 181,362 flights fly through UK airspace according to NATS, an increase of 1.6% compared to January 2018.
This accounted for 23.7% of all European traffic and demonstrates the continuously increasing global demand for air travel.
The biggest growth came in the ‘Non-Transatlantic International Overflights’ sector, with an increase of 7.5% compared to last January. This is largely due to an increase in demand between Ireland and Europe, particularly on flights between Dublin and Frankfurt. ‘Transatlantic Overflights’ also saw a marked increase, up 6.3%, led by more flights between the US and Europe, notably between New York and Paris.
‘Domestic Flights’ was the only sector that declined in January compared to last year, with a 3.5% reduction in traffic.
Traffic handled by both NATS air traffic control centres grew year on year in January, with Swanwick air traffic up by 4% and Prestwick up by almost 2%.
NATS attributable delay for the month was minimal, with only 336 minutes in total; a substantial 97.1% decrease compared to the same time last year. This equates to an average en-route delay per delayed flight of 11.59 seconds.
Juliet Kennedy, NATS Operations Director, said: “We’re off to a good start this year, handling an increasing number of flights with less delay compared to last January. We’re planning for another record-breaking year and our controllers are working hard to ensure they deliver the best service to our airline and airport customers, despite the increasing number of flights.”