And the delay that was generated during July, August and September in the UK accounted for just one per cent of the European total despite NATS handling 22 per cent of European air traffic*.
Figures released today showed that that the total number of minutes of delay attributable to NATS during the three months of air traffic movements during the Olympics and Paralympic Games was 12,981. In 2011 the figure for the three months had been 98,326.
The delay figures were also 97 per cent down on the figures for the same period in 2007 when air traffic was its peak, and 96 per cent down on 2004 when traffic levels were about the same as they are today.
NATS Managing Director Martin Rolfe said: “We spent a long time preparing for this summer and the Olympics and Paralympic Games knowing that we would face challenges to keep air traffic flowing.
“To have delivered the service that we did with so little delay over the three month period is testament to the planning and preparation as well as the investment in systems and staff that we put in place to handle these events.
“We are continually striving to provide the most efficient and safe air traffic service we can while working to reduce our operating costs still further than the 30 per cent they have come down since privatisation 10 years ago.”
The total number of UK flights during the three months of the summer was down by 1.3 per cent on the same period in 2011, although there was an increase in traffic in the London area specifically around the start and end of the Olympic Games.
The number of flights in UK airspace was down 11.7 per cent on the total for the July to September period in 2007 when traffic was at its peak – 607,081 this year compared to 687,771 in 2007.
*European total excluding delays caused by the weather which affects all service providers across Europe but which cannot be influenced by those providers.