Flight delays in Cyprus were reduced by 75 per cent over this year’s summer period, relative to the respective period of 2015, despite the significant increase in number of flights serviced, the department of civil aviation said in a statement on Monday.
From January to September 2016, the DCA said, average annual flight delay was 0.69 minutes per flight, compared with 2.76 minutes per flight over the first three quarters of 2015.
And this despite the fact that, from May to September (representing the peak summertime period), the Larnaca airport’s control tower serviced 30.595 international flights, a 28-per-cent increase on last year’s 23.918.
Over the same period, the Paphos airport control tower handled 8.995 flights, seven percent more than 2015’s 8.425.
“Despite the difficult operational conditions, the effort to reduce delays has been remarkable, and was made possible on a systemic level by the human resources, technical equipment, and management,” the statement said.
“A primary role in all three areas was played by the human resources, which managed air-traffic flows safely and efficiently, from various posts.”
With regard to the Nicosia air-traffic control centre, the DCA said that, until September 2016, it handled roughly the same number of aircraft relative to the already hectic – relative to the previous year – 2015, but noted that “a significant improvement in performance in 2016 has been the improvement in air-traffic control services, as flight delays were reduced by 75 per cent relative to 2015”.
It added that the NACC, due to Cyprus’ location, neighbouring non-European countries and countries at war, regularly faces increased and complex air-traffic flows, which are not adequately handled by Eurocontrol.
Additionally, the significant increase of air-traffic out of Israel, and its routing through the Cyprus FIR, contribute to the increase in workload, the DCA said, adding that “these reasons, along with Turkey’s refusal on cooperation and coordination, continue to hamper the staff’s efforts to handle air-traffic, resulting in the delays recorded in 2016”.
“In spite of the difficult conditions facing it, the staff of air-traffic control units has exhibited professionalism and effectively coped with its duties,” the statement said.
“It deserves congratulations.”