Review launched into bank holiday ATC failure, with promise ‘lessons need to be learnt’

ATC meldown
By Lisa James
Home » Review launched into bank holiday ATC failure, with promise ‘lessons need to be learnt’

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has started its independent review into the late August Bank Holiday air traffic control meltdown that left 200,000 passengers stranded.

The CAA promised a review into what happened on 28 August, when a NATS technical issue affected ATC services, resulting in hundreds of flights delayed and cancelled.     

An interim report by NATS has since revealed that the shutdown to both the main ATC computer and its backup computer occurred after a single flight plan presented information that it had never seen before.

This meant that air traffic controllers had to input data manually, but they were only able to process 60 flights an hour compared to 400 when the automated system is operating.

Former chair of slot co-ordinator Airport Coordination Limited, the Heathrow Consumer Challenge Board, and Transport Focus Jeff Halliwell will lead the review, looking at the causes, response, how the incident was managed and lessons for the future. 

He’ll be assisted by two panel members and a final report will be provided to the CAA Board and the Secretary of State for Transport before publication. 

CAA Joint-Interim Chief Executive Rob Bishton said: “The events of the 28 August Bank Holiday had a significant impact on many passengers. That’s why we’ve launched this independent review to understand what happened and learn lessons for the future.     

“We have appointed Jeff Halliwell, who will be supported by two further panel members, to bring a range of expertise to help determine and consider any recommendations to benefit both consumers and the wider aviation industry.” 

Jeff Halliwell said: “This event had a significant impact on many passengers, businesses and the aviation industry and it is clear lessons need to be learnt.  

“I am looking forward to working with industry and passengers to tackle this review to understand how the incident occurred, how it was managed and identify any recommendations.”  

See also: Airlines call for compensation as ATC disruption continues

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