This year, passengers will have to face difficulties in air traffic – assessed Piotr Samson, President of the Civil Aviation Office. There will be delays and canceled flights. He points to the war in Ukraine and potential strikes by aviation personnel as the reason.
Last year, especially during the summer season, a wave of protests swept through major European airports. This resulted in thousands of canceled and delayed flights and long queues of passengers at airports. They were on strike, among others air traffic controllers, airport staff, UK airlines, BelgiumSpain, Francethe Netherlands.
The president of the ULC told PAP that the confusion in 2022 was caused by staff shortages in European hubs that were not prepared for a quick recovery of traffic after the pandemic.
– There were no major problems in this regard in Poland – he assessed. However, he pointed out that European airports have already managed to fill staff shortages and the related problems will be less important this year.
In his opinion, “however, we must take into account the possibility of delays, as announced by the European air traffic management authority – Eurocontrol – in its latest traffic forecast for 2023” – indicated Samson. He added that this is primarily related to the armed conflict in Ukraineas a result of which part of the airspace in eastern Europe was closed.
– Increasing the number of flights in open parts of the airspace may generate delays. In addition, the increased presence of military aviation in the eastern part of Europe poses a challenge to air traffic control and may cause the need to change the routes of some flights, he said.
Air staff strikes
He added that delays and flight cancellations related to strikes by staff at airports, airlines or air traffic control services, which may intensify in Europe due to the high level of inflation and unsustainable wages.
On Monday, North Rhine-Westphalia’s two largest airports, Duesseldorf and Cologne/Bonn, are on strike warning, which has caused a major disruption to flights. In Cologne/Bonn, there was an almost complete shutdown with only two of the 136 originally scheduled flight operations taking place.
In an interview with PAP, the ULC president emphasized that Eurocontrol envisages mitigating measures, including changed capacity in certain sectors of airspace, its reorganization and change of flight routes.
– Nevertheless, this year’s summer aviation season should be calmer and better prepared for possibly changing conditions, given the greater awareness of the market regarding the challenges ahead this year – he assessed.
Samson pointed out that Polish airports have been preparing to ensure efficient security control at the peak of the 2023 season since last autumn. recruiting employees and modernizing the infrastructure used to screen people and baggage.
Traffic at Polish airports in 2022 and 2023
According to CAA data, in the first half of 2022, over 16.6 million passengers were served at Polish airports in domestic and international traffic – regular and charter. This result is more than 4 times higher than in the first half of 2021, but by 25.5 percent. lower than in the corresponding period of 2019. For the first 6 months of last year 144.7 thousand flights were performed at domestic airports air operations, three times more than in 2021 and 23.3 percent. less than in 2019
Piotr Samson predicts that this year Polish airports will serve almost 44.7 million people, i.e. about 91 percent. passengers from 2019 – the last one before the pandemic.
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