The Irish low-cost airline said in a statement that the main air navigation service provider in the United Kingdom, NATS, has been giving special treatment to Heathrow and Gatwick airports over Stansted — Ryainair's main base in Britian.
"Stansted Airport suffered 52% of all ATC delays in the London area from Jan — Mar 2018 caused by NATS, while Heathrow (which has 3 times the traffic) had 0% of NATS delays and Gatwick just 10%," Ryanair said.
Ryanair today (3 Sep) released data published by the UK CAA which confirms that Ryanair and London Stansted Airport are being discriminated against by NATS (the UK airline owned ATC provider).— Ryanair (@Ryanair) September 3, 2018
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The airlines has blamed NATS for the 2018 summer "havoc," adding it this year was "shaping up to be the worst year on record for ATC disruptions at Stansted," while "Heathrow suffered none, zero, nada."
Like all other EU airlines, Ryanair has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as a result of UK ATC staffing shortages and management failures. However, Ryanair and Stansted have been discriminated against by NATS who refuse to explain why 52% of all London ATC delays are at Stansted but there are zero at Heathrow and just 10% at Gatwick where (NATS' shareholders) BA and Easyjet are the main airlines.
Ryanair's COO, Peter Bellew, called 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.
Dozens of thousands of passengers have been affected this summer, after Ryanair cancelled nearly 400 flights in August.
In response to the complaint, NATS said in a statement sent to Sputnik:
"Ryanair performance this summer cannot be blamed on UK air traffic control. 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."
NATS also added that Ryanair made accusations in the summer 2016, which were investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). CAA found "no evidence" that NATS preferred or discriminated against any party.