The busiest day of the year

By | Category: Travel news
queues at Heathrow

terminal five at Heathrow. Hopefully congestion will be minimal and flight delays unheard of. Yes I’m living in cloud-cuckoo land!

You may not have heard of NATS but for every holidaymaker flying out of UK air space they are vital as they are the provider of air traffic control services. And today they say that it will be the busiest day ever in the skies above the UK. They expect to handle a record breaking 8,800 flights in and out of the country just today.

During the summer NATS expects to handle more than 770,000 flights, an increase by 40,000 from last year. That 5.2% increase in flights suggests that this will be  a bumper year for overseas holidays and that Britons are fairly sanguine about the Brexit prospects and the slump in the pound particularly against the euro.

Manchester Airport has already reported its busiest May on record and its 38th consecutive month of passenger growth; Cardiff has seen an almost 11% rise in traffic; and Luton is recording growth of 7%.

So whilst it suggests growing confidence by holidaymakers, that confidence might dip as our skies become increasingly crowded. NATS says that aging design of UK airspace means the continuing growth cannot continue without delays rising significantly.  A UK-wide forecast from the Department for Transport shows that by 2030 the flying public will experience 50 times more delays than they do at the moment with 8,000 cancellations per year. That isn’t the fault of the airlines but just the growth of demand.

This year I have had press releases from firms of solicitors and claims agents warning of delays but then, they would wouldn’t they? The more delays the more business for them if they can persuade travellers not to make their claim direct but to go via them.

Because so many flights have switched to Spain and the western Mediterranean as a result of qualms about Turkey, the continuing ban on Tunisia and the eastern Med as a whole, the delays are likely to be on flights to and from places like mainland Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics with Portugal also affected.

Overall NATS says a 5% increase in flights is expected over the summer months and the percentage increase will be much higher for the short-haul destinations as they will be the most popular.

What can I say other than Happy Holidays!

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