With 6.9 percent of all IFR flights made during 2005, business aviation represents a significant portion of all movements in the European airspace just behind charter traffic,* reported Dr. David Marsh, manager of statistics and forecasts at Eurocontrol. In an EBACE conference session yesterday, Dr. Marsh presented the results of the much-awaited study on business aviation traffic trends in Europe, announced here last year.
The study also shows that business aviation traffic has increased by more than 50 percent in the last nine years. Moreover, business aviation grows at twice the rate of the rest of the aviation industry. The major growth areas in relative terms are Eastern Europe, and those in volume are the UK, Spain and Italy.
The widespread pattern of traffic flow, and the number and variety of airports served by business aviation clearly shows that it plays an important role as point-to-point air transport provider, Dr. Marsh explained at the session.
However, the challenge is to accommodate this growing traffic in an area already considered the busiest and most congested in Europe, which is a triangle-shaped area formed by London, Zurich and Rome.
Alex Hendriks, Eurocontrol’s head of airspace/flow management and navigation division, further warned that the upcoming wave of very light jets may represent a serious challenge for Europe’s air traffic management system.
These VLJs would indeed fly at the same flight levels as airline traffic, while the aircraft they would replace, either pistons or turboprops, are flying today at much lower altitudes.
Copies of the business aviation study (the first of its kind in Europe) are available on the Eurocontrol Web site (www. eurocontrol.int/statfor).