Nicosia, along with Warsaw, Barcelona and the Canary Islands are together responsible for 28 per cent of air traffic delays in Europe, despite the fact that the four centres control only 6.9 per cent of the air traffic.
According to Eurocontrol`s 2013 Performance Review Report, 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 aggregating to an additional cost of €65m each year.
In 2013 in 198 days out of 365, delays at Nicosia`s control center exceeded one minute, the report said. The percentage of flights delayed for more than 15 minutes was 6 per cent.
The days for which delays exceeded one minute were three times more for Nicosia than for Warsaw, which ranked second-worst.
Warsaw recorded similar delays for 62 days in 2013, Barcelona 40 and the Canaries 37.
The average delay per flight for Warsaw was 0.54 minutes, 0.47 for Barcelona and 0.44 for the Canaries.
Flights delayed more than 15 minutes were also significantly lower for the rest of the air control centres. In Warsaw such delays concerned 1.5 per cent of its total flights, in Barcelona 1.3 per cent and in the Canaries 1.2 per cent.
According to the safety audit results of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Cyprus stands at 67.1 per cent in relation to the effective implementation of safety oversight systems. The average of 185 audited countries stands at 62 per cent, with the Republic of Korea ranking first with 98.6 per cent and Djibuti last with 4.1 per cent.
Speaking to Cyprus News Agency, Christos Petrou, Adviser to the President on Civil Aviation matters and Executive Director of the Mediterranean Institute of Flight Safety, said that safety levels for Cyprus were satisfactory, adding that there was room for improvement.
He referred in particular to the “outdated” institutional structure of the Civil Aviation Department in Cyprus, saying this created a series of problems in infrastructure, organisational matters, while resulting in shortages of air traffic controllers.
Petrou added that among the 40 members of Eurocontrol, only Cyprus and Greece still retained state-run services to control air traffic.
He also noted the need to have effective and flexible services to implement constantly revised security instructions in a swift manner, while referring to the overhaul of the Civil Aviation Department but said Cyprus was “on the right track”.
Commenting on the Eurocontrol report, Petrou said the situation had improved this year with fewer delays. (CNA)