Ryanair today (3 September) released data published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which it claims “confirms” Ryanair and London Stansted Airport are being discriminated against by UK airline owned ATC provider NATS.
The Irish carrier says while Heathrow Airport is being given “special treatment”, 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.
In the three months, Ryanair said the data showed London Luton Airport had 30 per cent of London ATC delays and London City Airport eight per cent.
Ryanair said the failure of NATS to fairly supply ATC staffing and airspace resources at Stansted has “wreaked havoc” this summer on both Ryanair and Stansted flight schedules, with 2018 shaping up to be the worst year on record for ATC disruptions at Stansted.
The CAA Oberon report it said confirmed Stansted suffered 15,268 (52 per cent) delay minutes of NATS attributable ATC delays in Q1, while Heathrow suffered none.
Like all other EU airlines, Ryanair says it has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as a result of UK ATC staffing shortages and management failures.
However, Ryanair and Stansted says that both have been discriminated against by NATS who refuse to explain why 52 per cent of all London ATC delays are at Stansted but there are zero at Heathrow and 10 per cent at Gatwick where it said (NATS’ shareholders) BA and Easyjet are the main airlines.
Ryanair’s chief operating office, Peter Bellew said Ryanair and Stansted are “clearly being discriminated” against by NATS and it is “unjustifiable”.
He added: “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.
“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.”