NATS response to the Independent Enquiry Report

21 May 2015

NATS would like to thank Sir Robert Walmsley and the other members of the enquiry panel for their thorough and comprehensive report into the events of 12 December 2014.

We apologise again for the inconvenience the system outage caused to passengers and to our airline and airport customers.

We are pleased that the report acknowledges that NATS’ primary duty is to maintain safety and that safety was not compromised at any time on 12 December 2014. We also appreciate the recognition that “impressive and comprehensive crisis management capabilities were mobilised quickly” by NATS employees.

The enquiry has confirmed that our actions to reduce capacity in the event of a failure to preserve safety were appropriate. However, we will now take this opportunity to ensure that our operational procedures are clearer across the industry to improve collaborative decision-making and speed up the recovery process.

We agree with the panel that it is unrealistic to expect that complex systems such as ours will never fail. To mitigate this we will continue to invest in making sure that failures are extremely rare and the impact of such failures on the travelling public are minimised as far as reasonably practical. And we are pleased that the panel recognised the continued programme of investment to accelerate the deployment of our next generation of systems.

Martin Rolfe, NATS Chief Executive Officer, said: “The enquiry has been a very valuable experience for NATS and I want to express my thanks to the entire panel for their thorough and professional job. The provision of safe and efficient air traffic services is of fundamental importance to the country and we are very sorry that things went wrong on 12 December.

“We will complete our study of the report in the coming weeks and will promptly implement the recommendations applicable to us in order to continue providing the otherwise outstanding service that our customers rightly expect.”

Read the full report.


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