Airlines demand that the British government’s air traffic control agency pay passengers.

Airlines demand that the British government’s air traffic control agency pay passengers.

Airlines want compensation for passengers as flight congestion is expected to cost £100 million from Britain’s air traffic control organization.Airlines are requesting that NATS pay for the interruption that was caused by its negligence.By Sean Poulter, Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Affairs at The Daily Mail updated: August 30, 2023, 13:05 EDT

Pressure is mounting on Britain’s air traffic control agency and its director to cover the £100 million cost of the flight cancellation mayhem.The’staggering’ systems failure on Bank Holiday Monday left tens of thousands of British families stuck all around the world.

Airlines are requesting a reform in the law to hold the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) responsible for the disruption, which Brexit has made possible.Additionally, because to its involvement in the crisis, there is demand to deny its top executive, Martin Rolfe, windfall pay.

In the fiscal year that ended in March 2023, his total compensation and bonuses increased to £1.3 million, and he also had shares worth more than £2.4 million. Under its “agile working” policy, NATS permits CEOs to work from home on occasion. The company will not confirm if Mr. Rolfe takes advantage of this.The NATS director attributed the collapse to the fact that computer systems were unable to handle a single erroneous piece of incoming data, which was reportedly a flight plan entered by a French airline.

The rationale, according to a prominent industry source, “doesn’t stand up.”I find that staggering, I truly do, said Willie Walsh, the former CEO of British Airways and current head of the airline industry association IATA.Incorrect data should be rejected by this system, not allowed to cause system failure.If that is the case, it reveals a major weakness that must have existed for a while, and if that is what caused this, I’m amazed.The entire examination must wait, according to Mr. Walsh, but he added: “That explanation doesn’t stand up from what I know of the system.”

The situation has sparked demands for NATS to be penalized and for a new compensation system to be put in place to hold it accountable for paying for its mistakes. Mr. Walsh argued that it is unfair that airlines will bear the projected £100 million cost of cleaning up the problem, which includes issuing refunds, scheduling emergency flights, and paying for the expenses of stranded travelers.He stated, “This was entirely out of the airlines’ control, yet airlines are subject to paying customers for delays, for cancellations, for looking after them, which is very considerable.”Because the air traffic control system that was at the root of this catastrophe is not compensated in any way, it is extremely unfair.

This is the main source of annoyance and frustration for airlines. He added: “In this case the problem was very clearly caused by NATS and they should pay.” He said that because of Brexit, the UK is free to establish its own compensation laws.When asked what the situation should mean for his salary and bonuses, Mr. Rolfe responded, “I have no doubt the board of NATS will be looking to hold the management of the organization accountable for this failure.”The UK government owns 49% of NATS through a golden share, giving it significant influence over CEO compensation.

Several airlines, notably BA, Virgin Atlantic, and easyJet, control 42% of the company, while employees own 5%.Over 250,000 people’s travel plans have been impacted by the crises’ 1,800 airline cancellations.Many people experience severe costs, lengthy delays in reaching home, and missed deadlines for returning to work or school.Mr. Rolfe apologized for the system failure from his £2 million property in Hampshire. On Monday, a report from an independent investigation examining what went wrong is expected to ministers.He avoided the question of whether NATS should pay the enormous expenses, stating merely that there are established procedures for determining who pays.

Additionally, he declined to comment when asked about his salary and bonus, stating: “Right now, my priority is ensuring that we have restored the system… For the purpose of ensuring that everyone reaches their destinations, we have been helping and collaborating closely with the airlines.

I would like to apologize once more for our technological failure, the CEO, who joined the company in 2012, said on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program.For everyone to be able to fly securely in UK airspace, NATS was created. Our systems make it possible for our air traffic controllers to provide this service throughout the year.Airlines have been accused of failing to provide assistance to stranded passengers.In response, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that it was crucial for airlines to fulfill their obligations to stranded customers.I am aware of how miserable the circumstances are for the families there. Airlines must fulfill their responsibilities to passengers for lodging and flights to return them home, he said. Airlines have ‘a responsibility to look after’ customers who are waiting to return home, according to Rob Bishton, joint acting chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, which includes giving them food, drinks, and hotel accommodations.

If airlines are unable to provide this, you can arrange your own lodging and food and then file a claim for reimbursement, he advised the impacted travelers.In situations where this has not been possible due to the number of passengers, consumers can book their own alternative air travel and claim the cost back from their airline. We are in contact with airlines and are aware that extra flights are being offered.For the fiscal year that ended in March 2023, Mr. Rolfe got $1.39 million in total compensation and bonuses, an increase of 96% from the previous year.

.It contained a long-term incentive plan bonus of £555,000 in addition to an annual bonus of £281,000.Martin earned £1.3 million, which was split between a salary, an annual incentive, and a long-term incentive, according to NATS.His overall profits were more than twice what they were the year before, when the company only gave him a smaller annual incentive and no long-term incentive. A voluntary pay cut was also taken by Martin during the Covid period.

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