UK

Review of August air traffic control meltdown will consider cost to airlines

An independent review into the August bank holiday air traffic control meltdown will consider the cost to airlines (Liam McBurney/PA)
An independent review into the August bank holiday air traffic control meltdown will consider the cost to airlines (Liam McBurney/PA) An independent review into the August bank holiday air traffic control meltdown will consider the cost to airlines (Liam McBurney/PA)

An independent review into the August bank holiday air traffic control (ATC) meltdown will consider the cost to airlines, regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.

There was major disruption to flights across UK airports on August 28 after ATC provider National Air Traffic Services (Nats) suffered a technical glitch while processing a flight plan.

The combined cost to airlines in providing refunds, re-bookings, hotel rooms and refreshments to affected passengers has been estimated at around £100 million by industry body the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

Airlines such as Ryanair have called for Nats to be liable for the cost of disruption it causes.

The CAA said its review will consider “airline and airport costs”.

It will analyse the causes, response and lessons for the future from the August 28 incident.

The inquiry will be led by Jeff Halliwell, who has served as a chief executive and non-executive director in roles across the private and public sector.

He previously chaired airport slot coordinator Airport Coordination Limited as well as the Heathrow Consumer Challenge Board which acts as an independent advisory body.

He also chaired passenger watchdog Transport Focus.

A final report into the ATC failure with recommendations will be provided to the CAA and the Secretary of State for Transport before publication.

CAA joint-interim chief executive Rob Bishton said: “The events of the 28 August bank holiday had a significant impact on many passengers.

“That’s why we’ve launched this independent review to understand what happened and learn lessons for the future.

“We have appointed Jeff Halliwell, who will be supported by two further panel members, to bring a range of expertise to help determine and consider any recommendations to benefit both consumers and the wider aviation industry.”

Mr Halliwell said: “This event had a significant impact on many passengers, businesses and the aviation industry and it is clear lessons need to be learnt.

“I am looking forward to working with industry and passengers to tackle this review to really understand how the incident occurred, how it was managed and identify any recommendations.”