EU Planning Air Traffic for 2030 Needs

Transport planners, airlines, and airport managers are using the estimate of 16.9 million flights as they plan air traffic control for the future.

A new forecast from EUROCONTROL predicts 16.9 million flights will take place in Europe in 2030, which is 1.8 times more than the traffic in 2009. Air transport planners, airlines, and airport managers are using this as they plan air traffic control needs for this volume.

The 16.9 million flights is the most likely of the four scenarios considered in the long-term flight forecast, according to the EU air traffic agency. The SESAR program is Europe's air traffic management system for the 2020s and is being developed with long-term needs in mind.

Average annual growth in traffic is likely to be between 1.6 percent and 3.9 percent, which would mean 13.1 million to 20.9 million flights taking place in 2030. The forecast predicts faster growth in the early years, stronger growth in Eastern Europe, Turkey's being the largest generator of extra flights, and Germany seeing the most additional flights in its airspace.

"There is growth to come over the next 20 years but it may look quite different from what we have been used to," said David Marsh, EUROCONTROL's forecasting chief. "Each market segment will be different, long-haul different from short-haul, and each part of Europe will be different."

In the long term, airports will not always be able to meet the demand, the forecast predicts.

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