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Statement on NATS Meltdown


“I feel for all the passengers that have suffered and continue to suffer huge inconvenience from the delays and cancellations caused by another meltdown of the UK National Air Traffic Services (NATS). I also sympathize with airline employees who face considerable additional stress dealing with the challenging recovery from this failure.

 NATS has crucial questions to answer about their responsibility for this fiasco. The failure of this essential service is unacceptable and brings into question the oversight of the CAA who are required to review the NATS resilience plan under the terms of its licence.

 This incident is yet another example of why the passenger rights system isn’t fit for purpose. Airlines will bear significant sums in care and assistance charges, on top of the costs of disruption to crew and aircraft schedules. But it will cost NATS nothing. The UK’s policy makers should take note. The passenger rights system needs to be rebalanced to be fair for all with effective incentives. Until that happens, I fear we will see a continuing failure to improve the reliability, cost efficiency, and environmental performance of air traffic control. The current system does not protect passengers. It hurts them,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.


  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 300 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.

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