Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Home Vacation 300,000 holidays cancelled with airport staff who ‘work from home’ blamed

300,000 holidays cancelled with airport staff who ‘work from home’ blamed

by Staff

Desk-shy airport staff working from home were behind the flight meltdown which saw 300,000 summer holidays cancelled, according to reports. More than a quarter of all flights in and out of the UK were cancelled on the day, and many more delayed, after air traffic controllers severely restricted the number of aircraft arriving and leaving UK airports.

The inquiry by the Civil Aviation Authority found fixing the problem was “more protracted than it might otherwise have been” because senior engineers were not in the office over the Bank Holiday. It was “common practice for staff to be available on standby at remote locations – typically at home”, it found.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary previously slammed the National Air Traffic Services engineers for “sitting at home in their pyjamas” on one of the “busiest travel weekends of the year for air travel”. He added: “In any properly managed ATC service, engineers would be onsite to cover system breakdowns instead of sitting at home unable to log into the system.

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“Overpaid Nats chief executive Martin Rolfe’s position in untenable.” AirlinesUK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “This report contains damning evidence that Nats’ basic resilience planning and procedures were wholly inadequate and fell well below the standard that should be expected for national infrastructure of this importance.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It was a completely unacceptable situation for passengers to face the scale of disruption that they did. We are clear that air traffic services must learn the lessons and ensure that this never happens again, so we welcome this interim report.

“We will allow the Civil Aviation Authority to publish its final report and the Government will work with the industry and airlines to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Martin Rolfe, chief executive of Nats, said in a statement on Tuesday evening that initial investigations had shown the incident “relates to some of the flight data we received”.The regulator’s systems had responded by “suspending automatic processing” to ensure that “no incorrect safety-related information could be presented to an air traffic controller or impact the rest of the air traffic system”.

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