RYANAIR is complaining that its flights to and from London Stansted Airport are being discriminated against by air traffic control – but Britain’s air traffic controller provider has denied the allegation.
Ryanair has claimed that British air traffic controllers are discriminating against Stansted Airport where the airline has its biggest global base.
The Irish budget airline has said that Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures “confirm” allegations that NATS, the main Air Navigation Service Provider in the UK, gave Heathrow “special treatment”.
Ryanair further claimed that Gatwick “is also being preferred” in a new report.
They say that Stansted Airport suffered 52 per cent of all ATC delays in the London area from January – March 2018 caused by NATS, while Heathrow (which has three times the traffic) had 0 per cent of NATS delays and Gatwick just 10 per cent.
“Ryanair and Stansted are clearly being discriminated against by the UK airline owned ATC provider NATS,” Ryanair’s COO, Peter Bellew has said.
Ryanair has blamed ATC staffing shortages and management failures for the airline having to cancel hundreds of flight over the summer.
“The failure of NATS to fairly supply ATC staffing and airspace resources at Stansted Airport has wreaked havoc this summer on both Ryanair and London Stansted flight schedules, with 2018 shaping up to be the worst year on record for ATC disruptions at Stansted,” Ryanair has said in a statement.
“The CAA Oberon report confirmed that Stansted suffered 15,268 (52 per cent) delay minutes of NATS attributable ATC delays in Q1, while Heathrow suffered none, zero, nada.”
Bellew 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.
“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.”
However, NATS has denied the claim and said it does not discriminate between airlines or airports.
“Ryanair performance this summer cannot be blamed on UK air traffic control,” a NATS spokesman told Express.co.uk.
“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.
“Ryanair made similar accusations against NATS in summer 2016. These were thoroughly investigated by the CAA.