The Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR) was among the “most constraining” air control centres in 2013, being responsible together with Warsaw, Barcelona and the Canary Islands for 28% of air traffic delays in Europe, an air traffic control report has said.
And this, despite the fact that the four centres control only 6.9% of the air traffic.
The average delay per flight over Cyprus was 2.16 minutes in 2013, when, according to aviation experts, each minute of delay costs airliners 76 euros, aggregating an additional cost of 65 mln euros each year.
According to Eurocontrol’s 2013 Performance Review Report, in 198 days out of 365, delays at Nicosia’s control centre exceeded one minute.
In comparison, Warsaw recorded similar delays for 62 days in 2013, Barcelona 40 and the Canarias 37.
The average delay per flight for Warsaw was 0.54 minutes, 0.47 for Barcelona and 0.44 for the Canarias.
The report states that Nicosia was planning to widen its capacity for 2013, serving 59 aircraft per hour, satisfying hourly traffic almost in full. However, this did not happen, resulting in significant delays for airspace users.
On another note, according to the safety audit results of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Cyprus stands at 67.1% in relation to the effective implementation of safety oversight systems.
The average of 185 audited countries stands at 62%, with the Republic of Korea ranked first with 98.6% and Djibouti last with 4.1%
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Christos Petrou, presidential adviser for civil aviation and Executive Director of the Mediterranean Institute of Flight Safety, said that flight safety levels for Cyprus were satisfactory, adding that there is room for improvements.
He referred in particular to the “outdated” institutional structure of the Civil Aviation Department in Cyprus.
Petrou added that among the 40 members of Eurocontrol, only Cyprus and Greece still retain state-run services to control air traffic.
He said moreover that airliners appear willing to pay more for route charges to Cyprus – which are estimated today at 46 mln euros per year – in order to have better services and avoid delays.
According to Petrou, the situation is improving, with less delays in 2014.
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