Triple challenge motivates DFS

05 July 2017
DFS CEO (and A6 Alliance chairman) Klaus-Dieter Scheurle met EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc (right) during World ATM Congress in March 2017. Source: DFS

DFS CEO Klaus-Dieter Scheurle speaks to Jane's about challenges and opportunities for the German ANSP

German air navigation service provider (ANSP) DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung faces three overriding priorities: maintaining the performance of its core regulated services as demand continues to grow; developing its commercial business in order to improve profitability; and steering the adoption of critical new technology.

At 3.11 million flights, Instrument Flight Rules traffic in 2016 in German airspace almost matched the record of 3.15 million set in 2008 - and DFS expects a new landmark in 2017 with 3.22 million controlled flights.

Airport or airspace capacity bottlenecks caused 33 seconds of delay per flight in German airspace, but 97.5% of flights handled by DFS reached their destination without major ATC-related delays. Speaking to Jane's , DFS chairman and CEO Klaus-Dieter Scheurle described "a good year" in terms of meeting key performance indicators, as delays were mitigated by the use of direct routes (DFS calculates that it was responsible for only 14 seconds of the total delay per flight).

Despite the positive traffic trends, DFS described a "difficult market" when announcing its annual results on 25 April 2017, adding that "it will be almost impossible to raise … revenues from the regulated core business". En route and terminal charges fell significantly in 2016 as a result of new regulations: full-year revenues in 2016 dropped by 3.17% to EUR1.22 billion (USD1.4 billion), while net profits fell from EUR123.6 million in 2015 to EUR86.6 million the following year, based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Commercial priorities

DFS Aviation Services - the commercial business of DFS - contributed EUR50 million to total revenues in 2016, with a further EUR50 million in the medium-term orderbook. This is a small but growing revenue stream for DFS. "Expansion of our commercial business is part of our strategic plan," said Scheurle.

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