Eurocontrol Worries About Bizjet Growth

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The number of business jets operating in Europe is expected to double to about 4,000 in the next ten years and that has officials with the continent's air traffic control organization wondering how it will accommodate the growth. "The levels of growth that we are seeing provide a real challenge for airports and air traffic control across Europe," David Marsh, Eurocontrol's manager of forecasting and statistics, said in a news release. "Business aviation uses different airports, but flies mostly in the same densely-used airspace as the rest of the traffic. In addition, business aviation generates more and bigger unanticipated peaks of demand which puts pressure both on airports and on air traffic control. As a result, delays to business flights have increased over the last two years."

The agency said most business aircraft are based in France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain and that more than 700 operators run the 1,900 aircraft currently in operation. The unknown factor is the impact of a number of start-up air taxi operators, some of whom have ordered hundreds of very light jets. "This study underlines the changing nature of air traffic, with low-cost carriers and business aviation the main contributors to that change," the news release said.