Let’s say you have a flight heading to Europe tomorrow, and you’re routing it eastbound via: Shanwick (EGGX), Shannon (EISN), and London (EGTT) FIR’s into Amsterdam.
Do you have any idea what it costs to talk to each controller, on an hourly basis?
The answer might surprise you. We’ll assume you’re crossing in a B737, weighing around 80 tons (or 175,000 lbs). For an hour’s worth of ATC on the Ocean, it’s 50 bucks.
Next up, you’ll talk to Shannon – and this will cost you about $300 an hour in your B737. As soon as you enter London’s airspace – same service – that rate goes up to about $1000 an hour.
For the above example, you’ll have paid these charges, in USD:
- Shanwick(Oceanic): $50
- Shannon(Ireland): $280
- London(UK): $780
Worth knowing, right? Eurocontrol publishes a list of Unit Rates each month – the current one for May 2016 is below. So who is the most expensive? Simple answer: Switzerland. Followed closely by the UK, Germany and Italy. As you can see, there are huge variations.
The Unit charge in each is what you will pay in a 50 ton aircraft (the Boeing 717 is bang on this weight), for 50nm of that airspace. So, enter the Swiss FIR for 50 miles in a B717, and you’ll get a bill for €104. If you operate a larger aircraft, then a weight factor is applied, for example, multiply everything by 1.25 for a B737. (If you want the maths, here’s the formula).
These are the May Unit Rates, just published, in order of expense, in Euro, which is $1.15 right now.
|EG||United Kingdom||€ 92.12|
|LE||Spain Continent.||€ 71.78|
|GC||Spain Canarias||€ 58.45|
|LZ||Slovak Republic||€ 52.63|
|LK||Czech Republic||€ 43.06|
|LQ||Bosnia Herzeg.||€ 41.88|
|LP||Portugal Lisboa||€ 39.99|
|AZ||Portugal S M||€ 10.89|