United Kingdom: IATA demands accountability after giant air traffic control breakdown

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There giant breakdown of British air traffic control at the start of the week, which disrupted the return to the UK of thousands of travelers after a long bank holiday weekend, will cost tens of millions of pounds to airlines, according toInternational Air Transport Association (IATA).

More than 1,500 flights departing from or arriving in the UK, more than a quarter of the total, had to be canceled on Monday, and another 345 on Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers on the ground, according to data company Cirium. aerial. According to IATA, the disruptions will have caused around 100 million pounds (116 million euros) in additional costs for the airlines affected.

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, doesn’t have enough harsh words for Britain’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS): “ NATS has crucial questions to answer about its responsibility in this fiasco. The failure of this essential service is unacceptable and calls into question the monitoring of air traffic control which is required to review the NATS resilience plan according to the terms of its license. “.

This incident is another example of why the passenger rights system is not fit for purpose. Airlines will bear significant sums in costs of care and assistance, in addition to costs related to disruptions to crew and aircraft schedules. But it won’t cost NATS anything. UK policymakers should take note. The passenger rights system must be rebalanced to be fair for all and equipped with effective incentives “, denounced Willie Walsh.

And to conclude: meanwhile, I fear that we are witnessing a continuing failure to improve the reliability, cost-effectiveness and environmental performance of air traffic control. The current system does not protect passengers. It hurts them “.

The British air traffic control failure was caused by “unusual data» introduced into the system, NATS Director General Martin Rolfe said yesterday, without confirming speculation in the British press according to which it was a problem with a flight plan filed by a French airline.

John Walker Avatar