When you are managing traffic at major holiday resorts you are always going to get sizable variations in demand. Two of FerroNATS nine airport – Alicante and Ibiza – are subject to dramatic surges in demand during the summer months.
In the case of Ibiza this fluctuation is particularly dramatic – ranging from around 450 a day at the summer peak to just 50 during the winter months.
FerroNATS took over the running of Ibiza back in November 2013, meaning this was our first summer operating ATC at the airport and I’m delighted to say that, despite an increase in traffic, punctuality improved during our first summer’s operation and we are confident that our client, Aena is satisfied with the quality of our service.
For the island of Ibiza, the build-up of traffic starts with the summer season in May before it gradually declines until the end of holiday period at the end of September.
People come from all over the world to visit the island and this summer we handled corporate jets on direct flights from San Francisco, Mumbai, New York and the Middle East, carrying many well-known celebrities from around the world.
We fully man the tower to meet the peak demand from May to September with sufficient contingency to meet most situations, for most of the day we have two positions manned plus we have third (delivery) position available if required.
Ibiza’s obvious seasonality is a big challenge for FerroNATS so excellent preparation is key. The size of the required team reduces dramatically during the winter therefore those controllers that hold validation certificates for other airports head off to work in other towers, while the others spend time training and take well-earned holidays.
In contrast, Alicante’s high season is less peaky, with between 250-300 movements per day in the summer and 150-200 in the winter months.
Alicante is the favourite destination for many British, German and Scandinavians all year round and is particularly favoured by the Spanish during July and August when most of the streets of Madrid are deserted.
Looking back on our first summer at both airports I think we can reflect on a job well done.
The client at both airports has been very happy with this summer’s performance, which has more than matched their expectations and given them huge confidence in our ability to deliver a superb service for years to come.
The key for FerroNATS now will be to keep doing this year after year. I liken it to a football analogy – winning your first Champions League trophy is fantastic, but retaining it is even harder! So it’s lesson learning time and, during the winter months, we’ll be busy planning for next year’s operation.
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