2023 Highlights: Ryanair Consistent Attacks on NATS

Anna Zvereva, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Over the course of this year, Ryanair made consistent attacks on NATS due to IT failures galore. Will the NATS CEO quit?

As Ryanair apply more pressure on NATS CEO Martin Rolfe to quit his job, we ask the following: Will he actually do it?

The CEO of the air traffic management system provider has come under fire since the summer for IT meltdowns that have disrupted airline operations around the UK.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Ryanair Pressure NATS CEO to Quit His Job…

Will Ryanair Pressure on NATS CEO to Quit His Job Work?
Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

In another statement released on December 11, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary had this to say on the continued state of affairs at NATS:

“After the August NATS system failure Martin Rolfe claimed it was a 1 in 15 million tech glitch. Yet here we are again 3 months later, and UK NATS fails again at Gatwick.”

“Thousands of passengers today face long delays, diversions, and cancellations as NATS under Martin Rolfe’s incompetent leadership fails again.”

“It’s time for Martin Rolfe to go. At an annual package of over £1.5m this clown has repeatedly shown he is incompetent.”


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“If he won’t quit, then transport minister Mark Harper (who owns 50% of NATS) should fire him. These repeated UK NATS system failures are unique to the UK and are not repeated in any other European ATC service.”

“Our passengers want a competent UK ATCH service and Martin Rolfe has repeatedly shown he can’t deliver it. He should go and let someone competent run UK ATC.”

Will The Pressure Work? Will The Irish Low-Cost Carrier Get What They Want?

Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

It’s no secret that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has been very vocal about the NATS CEO since the IT meltdown in the Summer.

O’Leary has been repeating these calls since September, and wants the company to do something about it.

The Irish low-cost carrier have even gone as far as saying that they will launch legal action against the air traffic systems provider for this.

At this stage, it is unclear whether NATS will just remain silent on this. Back in September, AviationSource approached them for a comment, and they declined to give us anything on O’Leary’s words from September.

What remains clear, however, is that the silent treatment never works when you are playing against Ryanair.

O’Leary will continue to apply pressure where possible until they get the outcome that they want, which in this case would be the resignation of CEO Martin Rolfe.

All eyes will be on how this plays out over the next few months, especially if we have another IT meltdown once again at London Gatwick which will cause this to spiral out of control once again.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
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