EasyJet executives says Nats has ‘let down customers all summer’

EasyJet executives says Nats has ‘let down customers all summer’

easyJet CEO Criticizes National Air Traffic Services (Nats) for Summer Disruptions

Summer of Letdowns easyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, has expressed disappointment with the performance of National Air Traffic Services (Nats) during the summer. Lundgren highlighted that Nats had consistently failed its customers throughout the season. This criticism comes following a series of incidents that disrupted air travel, with the latest being a staffing shortage in the control tower at Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick Airport Disruptions On Thursday night, Gatwick Airport faced significant disruptions, including the cancellation, diversion, and delay of 42 flights. The root cause was a staffing shortage in the control tower at the West Sussex airport. A similar incident occurred on September 6, and on August 28, a Nats technical glitch led to widespread disruption at airports across the UK.

Immediate Action Required Johan Lundgren stressed the need for immediate action to address the ongoing staffing shortages at Nats. He emphasized that these shortages had caused over a month’s worth of disruption in the aviation industry during the summer season. Lundgren called for swift resolution while also advocating for a broader review of Nats’ operations to ensure dependable services for passengers in the present and future.

Ryanair’s CEO Calls for Nats CEO’s Resignation Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, went a step further by calling for the resignation of Nats’ CEO, Martin Rolfe. O’Leary expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation and the impact it had on passengers and airlines. He pointed out that airlines pay substantial sums to Nats and should not have to endure avoidable delays due to staff shortages in UK air traffic control.

Industry-Wide Impact Julia Lo Bue-Said, the CEO of Advantage Travel Partnership, a network of independent travel agents, voiced her concern about the unacceptable disruptions at Gatwick. She highlighted the havoc such disruptions cause to travelers and the significant financial implications they have on airlines, travel agents, and the entire travel industry ecosystem.

Nats’ Response In response to the criticisms, Nats stated that they are actively working with Gatwick Airport Ltd to enhance the resilience of the airport’s control tower, aiming to minimize disruptions. They noted that they have recruited new air traffic controllers since last summer, increasing their presence by 17%, and additional controllers are in the pipeline to join after completing training, in accordance with the agreed plan since Nats took over the contract in October the previous year.

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