Statement Following Transport Secretary's meeting with the aviation industry on air traffic control disruption

This afternoon the Transport Secretary Mark Harper chaired a meeting on yesterday’s air traffic control disruption with NATS, the Civil Aviation Authority, airlines, airports, trade bodies and Border Force.

While the technical failure was resolved quickly yesterday afternoon, the meeting was an opportunity for NATS to brief the industry on what went wrong, and for airlines to provide the latest updates on their operations and the support they’re offering to passengers impacted by the disruption.

The Transport Secretary urged airlines to continue doing all they can to support passengers, increasing capacity by whatever means possible and ensuring customers have adequate welfare and accommodation while waiting for their rearranged flights.

Speaking after the meeting, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said“I echo the apology offered by NATS to everyone caught up in the disruption following yesterday’s technical issue with air traffic control. My priority continues to be making sure passengers get where they need to be as quickly as possible.

“I am grateful to airlines, airports and Border Force for the work being done to get passengers to their destinations and to provide support while they wait. “Airlines are clear about their responsibilities to their customers, and I stand ready to provide further appropriate support from the Government should the industry request it.

“Although the air traffic control system is back up and running, the knock-on effects of yesterday’s disruption are likely to continue over the coming days. Passengers due to travel should check with their airlines before heading to the airport.”

The Department for Transport has put in place temporary alleviations to allow night flights at those airports it regulates. Airline and airport chief executives outlined that we are likely to see a continuation of some disruption in the coming days as they get affected passengers to their destinations, and crew and aircraft to the right locations.

The Transport Secretary and Aviation Minister are being kept up to date with airlines and airports’ operations, and will be reviewing the report from NATS once it is delivered to the Civil Aviation Authority in the coming days. The Transport Secretary offered the industry any other appropriate support needed from the Government to help passengers and alleviate the ongoing disruption.