UK air traffic control provider NATS has refuted claims by Ryanair that it is discriminating against the carrier and London Stansted Airport.
The Irish airline said yesterday Heathrow Airport is being given “special treatment” by NATS and Gatwick Airport is also “being preferred” as Stansted Airport suffered 52 per cent of all ATC delays in the London area from January – March 2018 caused by NATS, while Heathrow had zero per cent of NATS delays and Gatwick 10 per cent.
A NATS spokesperson said: “NATS does not discriminate between airlines or airports. Ryanair performance this summer cannot be blamed on UK air traffic control.
“The figures Ryanair quote from the beginning of the year coincide with the introduction of new technology that affected the number of flights in and out of Stansted during that period. Luton airport was similarly affected at that time and other airports were affected at other times over a seven month period.
“All airlines and airports were notified of the timetable in advance and understood the new technology will help us increase capacity safely in the future.”
NATS said Ryanair made similar accusations against NATS in the summer 2016 and these were thoroughly investigated by the CAA.
NATS added: “Their published report – ‘The Oberon Report’ – stated that: ‘The CAA has found no evidence that NERL [NATS En Route Ltd] has unduly preferred or discriminated against any party’.
“NATS has a duty to ensure commercial aircraft can fly safely through UK airspace. Adding extra controllers to the Essex airspace will not make a difference. Additional aircraft cannot fly in that area safely without redesigning the airspace which requires consultation with those affected on the ground.”