UK air traffic management company NATS said January saw 181,362 flights fly through UK airspace – an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to January 2018.
This accounted for 23.7 per cent of all European traffic and demonstrates the continuously increasing global demand for air travel.
The biggest growth came in the non-transatlantic international overflights’ sector, with an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to last January.
This is largely due to an increase in demand between Ireland and Europe, particularly on flights between Dublin and Frankfurt. Transatlantic overflights also saw a marked increase, up 6.3 per cent, led by more flights between the US and Europe, notably between New York and Paris.
Domestic flights was the only sector that declined in January compared to last year, with a 3.5 per cent reduction in traffic.
Traffic handled by both NATS air traffic control centres grew year on year in January, with Swanwick air traffic up by four per cent and Prestwick up by almost two per cent.
NATS attributable delay for the month was minimal, with only 336 minutes in total; a substantial 97.1 per cent decrease compared to the same time last year. This equates to an average en-route delay per delayed flight of 11.59 seconds.
NATS operations director, Juliet Kennedy said: “We’re off to a good start this year, handling an increasing number of flights with less delay compared to last January. We’re planning for another record-breaking year and our controllers are working hard to ensure they deliver the best service to our airline and airport customers, despite the increasing number of flights.”