Airline Owned UK ATC Provider NATS Discriminates Against Ryanair & Other Stansted Airlines

03 Sep 2018

Ryanair Submits Formal Complaint To EU Commission

Ryanair today (3 Sep) released data published by the UK CAA which confirms that Ryanair and London Stansted Airport are being discriminated against by NATS (the UK airline owned ATC provider), while Heathrow is being given special treatment, and Gatwick is also being preferred. Stansted Airport suffered 52% of all ATC delays in the London area from Jan – Mar 2018 caused by NATS, while Heathrow (which has 3 times the traffic) had 0% of NATS delays and Gatwick just 10%.

The failure of NATS to fairly supply ATC staffing and airspace resources at Stansted Airport has wreaked havoc this summer on both Ryanair and London Stansted flight schedules, with 2018 shaping up to be the worst year on record for ATC disruptions at Stansted. The CAA Oberon report confirmed that Stansted suffered 15,268 (52%) delay minutes of NATS attributable ATC delays in Q1, while Heathrow suffered none, zero, nada.

Like all other EU airlines, Ryanair has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as a result of UK ATC staffing shortages and management failures. However, Ryanair and Stansted have been discriminated against by NATS who refuse to explain why 52% of all London ATC delays are at Stansted but there are zero at Heathrow and just 10% at Gatwick where (NATS’ shareholders) BA and Easyjet are the main airlines.

Welcoming the CAA Oberon Report, which exposes NATS discrimination, Ryanair’s COO, Peter Bellew said:

“Ryanair and Stansted are clearly being discriminated against by the UK airline owned ATC provider NATS.  That Stansted has had 52% of all NATS delays in Q1 while Heathrow has 0% (and Gatwick just 10%) is unjustifiable.  These disruptions are unfair and unacceptable, and we call on the UK Dept of Transport and the EU Commission to take urgent action to ensure that the UK ATC provider (NATS) is fully staffed and treats each London airport fairly.  NATS don’t have enough staff.  Ryanair is today submitting a formal complaint to the European Commission and the UK CAA over this blatant discrimination against Stansted Airport and Ryanair.   

 

 

Pax (m)% of London

ATC Delays

Jan-Mar
Heathrow17.70%
Gatwick9.310%
Stansted5.652%
Luton3.230%
London City1.08%

 

Source: CAA Oberon Report, CAA Stats

The situation is particularly bad at weekends where NATS are hiding behind adverse weather and euphemisms such as “capacity restrictions” when the truth is they are not rostering enough ATC staff to cater for the number of flights that are scheduled to operate.   Urgent action must now be taken by the UK Dept of Transport, and the EU Commission, otherwise thousands more flights and millions of passengers at Stansted will continue to suffer disproportionate delays, while NATS protects its shareholder airlines’ services in Heathrow and Gatwick.”

From the UK CAA website:

https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Oberon%20Report%20Indicators_Q118.pdf