NATS’ rescue package vital for future air safety


NATS’ rescue package vital for future air safety

Commenting on today’s (Thursday) reports regarding concerns surrounding the new air traffic control centre at Swanwick, David Luxton, Prospect aviation officer said: "We are aware of some difficulties that have been reported with the new equipment and screens at Swanwick and have been working with members and management throughout the year to rectify problems as they arise.

"We would encourage members to continue to report any incidents where their individual health and safety has been affected and are committed to ensuring that health and safety issues are closely monitored."

Prospect, the union representing 3,500 air traffic controllers and engineers at NATS, has always supported the open reporting culture in NATS to ensure that lessons can be learned and problems eliminated if there is any risk to air traffic safety. Following reports earlier this year of problems at Swanwick, improvements to the fonts sizes and backgrounds used on controllers’ screens were made in November.

"However we remain concerned about the low staff morale within NATS which continues to be distracted from its primary task of effective air traffic management by the financial crisis it still faces," said Luxton.

The CAA’s economic regulator is due to announce within the next few days whether it will allow NATS to raise its charges and have the financial headroom needed to proceed with vital investment.

"But, "Luxton added, "NATS has already said that these measures alone will be insufficient and additional savings of tens of milions will be needed over the next three years. The government must ensure that NATS has the financial stability to meet its investment plans which are crucial to ensure air traffic safety in the face of the increasing volume of flights."