Delays to flights using French airspace will continue through the summer due to a shortage of air traffic controllers and “a crazy decision” to upgrade the French air traffic control system.
The air navigation services director of France’s civil aviation authority, Florian Guillermet, confirmed the delays would continue all year last week but insisted: “It will get better in 2023.”
French air navigation service provider DSNA began installing a new air traffic control system at its control centre in Reims at the beginning of April, with the work requiring reduced traffic volumes just as flights ramped up for the summer. Many flights are being rerouted over Germany to relieve the pressure, making its airspace more congested than normal.
Guillermet told a Eurocontrol webinar: “We are still controlling with a paper system that is 30 years old in France. That is why a French air traffic controller can’t be as productive.
“That is the reason we took the crazy decision to upgrade the system right before the summer with potentially a lot of disruption.”
He added: “We hired a number of [air traffic] controllers but we are still at a historically low level.”