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2018 busiest year on record for UK air traffic

Staff Writer |
The UK broke its annual air traffic record by 0.3%, with 2,557,780 flights in 2018 compared with 2,550,102 flights in 2007, marking six consecutive years of growth since traffic started to increase again after the global financial crisis.

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The summer months in particular saw many previous flight records broken as travel in May, June and July exceeded previous peaks. A high of 8,854 flights handled by NATS controllers on a single day in the UK was recorded on 25 May 2018.

Despite increased traffic levels, NATS delay figures have improved with an average per flight delay of 12.5 seconds in 2018, compared with 26.8 seconds in 2007. This represents a 60% reduction in delay, attributable in part to the introduction of new technology.

Air traffic in 2019 is forecast to increase by 1% in the UK Flight Information Region (FIR), with a 2% increase expected in 2020.


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