Finavia-controlled overflights decreased in the first half of the year

Reports People & Aviation
Published
19.8.2013 - 11:50
Press release
In January–July, Finavia controlled 3.5 per cent less overflights in the Finnish airspace than during the same period in 2012. The development weakens Finavia's opportunities to achieve the air navigation service performance objectives related to the harmonization of European airspace.

The number of overflights controlled by Finavia-operated Finnish Area Control Centre decreased in January–July by 3.5 per cent compared with the same period in 2012. In all, there were 17,739 overflights directed by the Area Control Centre while the corresponding number in January–July of the previous year was 18,389.

“Air traffic landings have decreased significantly since spring 2012. The number of overflights increased until late-2012 and I consider the fact that the number of overflights has also decreased during the first part of the year extremely worrying. It appears that the slow development of global economy has also contributed to this development,” says Raine Luojus, Director of Air Navigation Operations at Finavia.

Finavia has attempted to increase overflights in the Finnish airspace by providing airlines the opportunity to fly during the night through the most direct and optimized routes (Free Route Airspace) in the Finnish airspace that do not necessarily follow air corridors  This has been possible since December 21012.

“Finland has made a commitment to participate in building of Single European Sky (SES) and joined the North European Functional Airspace Block (NEFAB) in 2012. As a result, we must achieve performance objectives for 2012–2014 with the help of which the EU aims to, for example, lower overflight fees from airlines. This is extremely challenging as air traffic volume is decreasing.
The EU objective is based on the fact the five billion euros more is spent on airspace control in Europe annually than in the United States,” says Luojus. The EU confirms Finland’s flight route fees annually.

“EU’s performance objectives for improving the cost-effectiveness of air navigation services are extremely tight. Finland has committed to these objectives as part of the building of Single European Sky. Our air navigation service business is losing over 10 million euros every year, which is covered through Finavia's internal subvention. However, the point of departure of the EU regulation is that air navigation services should be profitable. Unprofitability, EU’s challenging performance objectives, weak development of air traffic sector and lowering flight ticket prices are among the reasons why Finavia together with other European air navigation service providers has to renew air navigation methods and intensify cooperation between various countries in the near future,” says Luojus.

In all, there were 27,381 overflights in the Finnish airspace in January–July, which was 0.9 per cent less than during the same period in 2012. In addition to overflights directed by Finavia’s Area Control Centre, Swedish and Norwegian air traffic control direct domestic flights visiting the Finnish airspace. In 2012, overflights provided EUR 16 million turnover to Finavia’s air navigation operations. The total turnover of the air navigation operations was EUR 66.1 million.