skeyes is also a reliable partner for recreational air traffic

Contrary to commercial air traffic, which plummeted in recent months, recreational air traffic soared. This caused an unusual rush for air traffic controllers, especially at the regional airports.

In air traffic control there is a distinction between flights with (larger) aircraft for commercial passenger or cargo transport (IFR flights for Instrumental Flight Rules) and flights carried out by smaller (private) aircraft for recreational use and pilot training (VFR flights for Visual Flight Rules). skeyes is responsible for the safe conduct of both types of traffic.

Since mid-May, VFR flights had been allowed again at the insistence of the sector. Since then, there has been a notable increase in such flights at all airports. At the regional airports they even accounted for the vast majority of traffic: 91,7% at Kortrijk, 71,7% at Ostend 78,8% at Charleroi, and 80,4% at Antwerp. At times Antwerp even handled the most flights of all airports.

The causes for the increase in VFR traffic are obvious. Pilots had more free time to exercise their hobby during the corona crisis. Moreover, due to the nice weather, they also had a lot of opportunity to do so. And due to the standstill of commercial air traffic, the airspace was more often available for their flights.

The skeyes air traffic controllers therefore had their hands full during the past period to manage all that VFR traffic. In addition, they did so in circumstances that take into account the guidelines of the government with regard to COVID-19. In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the number of air traffic controllers per shift was reorganised and they worked in fixed shifts.

As a public service provider, skeyes always remains active. Even during the recent period of low commercial air traffic, airports and airlines were able to rely on air traffic control, just like recreational aviation. However, skeyes does not receive any compensation for services provided to the recreational sector. 

Dominique Dehaene

skeyes - Communication Manager & Spokesperson

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About skeyes

skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres (*). The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes also develops innovating services regarding drones and contributes to a sustainable future of the aviation sector, among other things with respect to the environment.

skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland) with the aim of improving air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.

(*) The upper airspace of the Benelux countries and North West Germany is managed jointly with the EUROCONTROL centre in Maastricht. 


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