UK traffic controllers face their ‘busiest summer ever’

2.4million head off on great summer getaway   

The skies above the UK are set to see the busiest day ever as traffic controllers expect to handle a record-breaking 8,800 flights today.

As the school holiday’s begin air traffic controllers are expecting to manage 770,000 flights over the summer an increase of 40,000 from last year.

South East and London Airports are expected to have the busiest weekend with over 500,000 passengers expected to depart from Heathrow, 335,000 from Gatwick, 136,000 from Stansted and 85,000 from Luton.

The Travel Association ABTA estimates that a record 2.4 million British holiday makers will head overseas this weekend with the Mediterranean popular with families.

However, the UK’s National Air Traffic Control Service has warned that this increase is stretching air traffic controllers and UK skies to the limit.

Jamie Hutchison, Director at NATs’ said: “In the last few weeks we have already safely managed record-breaking daily traffic levels, but the ageing design of UK airspace means we will soon reach the limits of what can be managed without delays rising significantly.”

A forecast from Department for Transport estimates that if the airspace remains unchanged, there will be 3,100 days’ worth of flight delays by 2030, 50 times the amount seen in 2015, along with 8,000 flight cancellations a year.

Hutchinson added: “Traffic growth is good news for the economy and means more choice for passengers, but it also puts pressure on the capacity of our airspace infrastructure. The UK’s airspace was designed decades ago and doesn’t allow us to take advantage of the technology on board modern aircraft that would raise capacity, and also reduce emissions and noise for communities on the ground.”

Earlier this year, the government consulted on plans to update airspace change policy and is now reviewing the feedback.

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