Anniversary: 25 years DFS German Air Traffic Control

Since its foundation, 67.2 million flights have been safely routed to their destination; for the first time in 2017, more than 3.2 million flight movements in German airspace

Anniversary: 25 years DFS German Air Traffic Control

In 1993, a new chapter began in the history of German air traffic control: DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, a privately-owned company with 100% federal ownership, began its work. It had emerged from the “Federal Institute for Air Traffic Control”, which had controlled the air traffic in Germany for 40 years.

Experts consider the reform of German air traffic control a success. “It was the right decision to give DFS a private-sector structure in order to be able to react flexibly to the great growth in aviation that was emerging at that time,” says the chairman of the DFS management, Prof. Klaus-Dieter Scheurle. Beyond the borders of Germany, DFS is recognized worldwide in terms of safety, competence, efficiency and effectiveness.

The task of DFS is to ensure a safe, fluid and punctual course of flight while at the same time taking into account environmental issues such as the prevention of aircraft noise. The company operates control centers in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 international airports in Germany. DFS finances itself mainly from air traffic control fees and in 2016, together with its third-party business, generated revenues of 1.2 billion euros.

Since the founding of DFS, the traffic figures in Germany have risen sharply. In 1993, the company was responsible for 1.8 million aircraft movements per year. In the meantime, this number has almost doubled: In 2017, more than 3.2 million flights were counted in German airspace – more than ever before. At the same time, DFS has had an excellent safety record over the past 25 years.

The efficiency of DFS depends on qualified personnel: Since DFS was founded, around 2,300 air traffic controllers have been trained at their air traffic control academy. In order to find suitable candidates for this demanding profession, the DFS experts had to process around 70,000 applications in the past 25 years.

In order to cope with the traffic growth of the next few years, 120 air traffic controllers will begin their training in the anniversary year. In the next few years DFS is planning on similar training numbers. In total, the privately organized company employs around 5,400 people (as at 30.09.2017).