Capacity increase and stabilisation pact for air traffic

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and its collective bargaining partner have agreed on a comprehensive set of measures to help improve punctuality in German air traffic. These measures include creating incentives for air traffic controllers to work voluntary additional shifts and retire from operational service later than currently set out in collective agreements. In addition, DFS has pledged to expand the training initiative it launched in 2019.

06.06.2019.- Last year, the unexpectedly strong growth in air traffic caused problems for the entire aviation industry. Particularly during the main summer holiday season of 2018, flights were cancelled or delayed throughout Europe. At peak times, bottlenecks also occurred in parts of Germany, which is the busiest airspace in Europe with 3.4 million flight movements per year.

To help improve punctuality, DFS and the air navigation services union (GdF) have agreed on the cornerstones of a comprehensive set of measures. In particular, three measures are intended to help increase capacity in the short term and secure it in the long term: the option to work voluntary additional shifts for operational staff, incentives to remain in operational service for a longer time and a training initiative over several years. “With these measures, we are making a contribution to improving the current situation in the air and ensuring that passengers reach their destination on time,” said CEO Klaus-Dieter Scheurle.

Since 1 June, operational staff have been able to take on voluntary shifts in addition to their normal working hours in return for additional compensation. This applies not only to air traffic controllers but also to other operational staff such as flight data assistants or technicians. To create a financial incentive for operational staff to work additional hours, the collectively agreed overtime supplements have been increased. DFS and GdF have agreed on cornerstones which will be implemented into the relevant collective agreements in the coming weeks.

In addition, the collective bargaining partners have agreed on incentives for controllers to remain in operational service for a longer period of time, that is, until they reach the age of 57. Up to now, most controllers work in operations up to a maximum age of 55.

Furthermore, to make sure there are enough air traffic controllers in the long term, DFS has launched a training initiative. A total of 122 young people will start training as air traffic controllers in 2019. This number will increase to 146 in 2020. DFS and GdF have agreed to keep his maximum number of trainees until the end of 2023.

DFS had already implemented a number of measures to improve punctuality. One measure was to change flight profiles. Together with the control centres of the neighbouring countries, flights on busy routes have been transferred to other flight levels to free up congested upper airspace. The proportion of delays attributable to air navigation services in Europe was approximately one quarter in 2018. In April 2019, this figure fell to just under one-fifth.

Media contact:
Kristina Kelek
Telephone: +49 (0)6103 / 707-4161

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,400 employees. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK.