easyJet boss calls for independent review into air traffic control failure

An easyJet flight takes off.
Photo Credit: Lewis Chesworth/AviationSource
Lewis Chesworth 5 Min Read
5 Min Read

easyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren has demanded for a “full independent review” to be launched into the recent air traffic control failure.

The air traffic control failure being referred to is the nationwide outage and subsequent disruption that occurred throughout the day on Monday 28th August 2023.

NATS flight planning system

To be specific with what happened, the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) who is responsible for providing air traffic control services to all flights in the UK, encountered a failure with their flight planning system.

This meant that flight plans had to be inputted manually through air traffic control at the desired departure airport leading to huge delays for 12+ hours due to the backlog of flight plans awaiting processing.

As such many airlines took the difficult but easy solution to cancel the vast majority of their flights, which included the likes of easyJet.

Although the failure was rectified by mid afternoon on Monday this week, the backlog and overall knock on effect continues to be seen days later.

Customers for not just easyJet, but also British Airways, Jet2 and others still remain stranded as all airlines do their best efforts to repatriate everyone.


Mr Lundgren has said this week, “We have been absolutely focused this week on helping our customers impacted by the ATC failure return home”.

What Lundgren wants

Johan Lundgren has come out and said that passengers who were affected by the ATC failure on Monday “deserve to see a full independent review”.

He believes that this review should also cover what NATS has done or will do in order to prevent this catastrophic event from happening again.

After all, an ATC failure of a similar scale occurred back in 2014, which also cause widespread disruption to UK flights.

At present, it has been revealed that NATS is currently conducting its own inquiry into what happened this week and will send a preliminary report to Transport Secretary Mark Harper on Monday next week (3rd September 2023).

Johan Lundgren has also said, the report should also cover other issues that are beyond this incident, but could also lead to nationwide problems with ATC in the UK, drastically affecting flights.

Areas such as staffing levels were mentioned, in order to ensure NATS has a sufficient level of workers in order to provide the flying of tomorrow.

Backlog of issues yet to be fixed

Despite it being multiple days since the ATC failure, the backlog of issues still remains, with customers from many UK airlines still stuck out at their destinations.

EasyJet has said they are trying to get their customers home as soon as possible, however due to the immense volume of stranded customers, the task is proving difficult with many full flights leaving little room for extras.

In a statement released by the airline, easyJet said, “As more seats become available we are contacting customers who we know are yet to return home to try and get them on earlier flights”.

The LCC added that additional seats are being offered on a first come first serve basis, so if customers want an earlier flights they should get in contact with easyJet in order to reserve their place on said flight.

More premium airlines such as British Airways are even doing little things in order to get as many people home as possible. This includes reducing the size of their business class part of the cabin and even selling the middle seat in Business Class to fit as many people onboard.

As the repatriation efforts continue, we will continue to observe the developments of this event.

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