SARAJEVO, July 28 (FENA) - Although the world media announced at the beginning of this month that air traffic chaos can be expected throughout Europe during summer, with flight delays and postponements, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not worrying.
Director of the Air Navigation Services Agency (BHANSA), Davorin Primorac, says that although we are experiencing record numbers of flights, there has never been a deviation in the quality and safety of air traffic in BiH.
The European air traffic safety organization Eurocontrol issued a warning at the beginning of the peak summer season, citing the lack of air traffic controllers, increased military activities that reduced the amount of available airspace by 20 percent, and possible strikes as key reasons.
Primorac emphasizes that last year Eurocontrol created scenarios for recovery of air traffic from the COVID-19 pandemic at the European level. The scenarios depended on factors such as inflation, passenger confidence, the war in Ukraine, ticket prices, etc. Three scenarios were created: high, base, and low, and presented in percentages of flights from 2019. According to the High scenario, 2023 should have approached and almost equaled 2019, while the base and low predicted a more modest recovery.
In the first half of 2023, traffic at the level of Europe is in accordance with the Eurocontrol base scenario forecast, where 86 percent of traffic from 2019 was recorded in January, 87 percent in February, 88 percent in March, 90 percent in April, 92 percent in May and June.
"Although the traffic in Europe has still not returned to the pre-pandemic level, this summer we are experiencing significant delays caused by the lack of air traffic controllers, the war in Ukraine that affected the availability of airspace, strikes by both air traffic controllers and ground staff, i.e. staff at airports. Air traffic in Bosnia and Herzegovina returned to the pre-pandemic level last year. We had a significant increase in the number of flights over BiH in the first half of this year compared to the record year 2019, even 17 percent more flights than in the first half of 2019," Primorac points out.
Thus, in January of this year, BHANSA recorded 14 percent more traffic than in 2019, in February 17 percent, in March 25 percent, on April 24 percent, in May and June 13 percent, while in July about 11 percent more flights are expected than in 2019.
The lack of air traffic controllers did not bypass BHANSA either. In the previous period, several employees went to Qatar for significantly higher-paying jobs. In addition, the summer season started earlier, so in April, BHANSA recorded the number of flights as in May 2019. Already in May, there were an average of about 1,350, and in June, about 1,500 flights per day in the airspace of the BiH Area Control Center (BHACC), considering that the distribution of traffic differs significantly between weekdays and weekends. Until the first half of July this year, on the busiest day, nearly 1,800 flights were recorded through the BHACC, while over 120 flights were recorded in the peak hour, which is at the same time a key parameter of the load on BHACC and at the same time an indicator of BHANSA's ability to answers to the highest challenges.
Although, he says, we are experiencing record numbers of flights, at no time has there been a deviation in the level of quality and safety of BHANSA's services, thanks primarily to highly competent staff and continuous investment in training, improvement of operational and technical solutions, and monitoring of current trends in the development of civil aviation services.
(FENA) A. B.