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Flights controller 'backs inquiry'

Air Traffic control company Nats has said it would be "to everyone's benefit" if aviation regulators held an inquiry following Saturday's major disruption to flights.

Nats has already started its own inquiry into the events when an internal telephone system problem at the company's Hampshire headquarters led to flight delays and cancellations.

Saying he deeply regretted the disruption, Nats chief executive Richad Deakin said the best way forward was an investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) into " the level of contingency and resilience in UK airspace".

He said Nats believed it had appropriate levels of contingency and pointed out that the company delivered "over 90% of an extremely busy schedule of flights during the day and recovered to normal operations in 14 hours".

He went on: "Some of the comments over the weekend show that some parties believe our contingency was insufficient and instead we should be able to continue at 100% capacity in any eventuality.

"In addition to these measures, we believe it would now be to everyone's benefit for the CAA to conduct an open and transparent review to confirm:

:: Whether the level of contingency we have in place meets reasonable operational expectations at reasonable cost;

:: Whether further measures need to be adopted;

:: If so, how these further measures should be funded within the regulatory regime."

Mr Deakin added: "We are keen to do all we can at Nats to ensure the aviation industry has a full understanding of the capability that is in place in the UK and to take any further steps our customers and regulators decide are necessary to help avoid a repeat of last Saturday's problems."


From Belfast Telegraph