The UK Civil Aviation Authority is launching an independent review into the NATS technical issue that occurred on Monday 28 August, causing hundreds of flights to be delayed or cancelled.
Following this significant disruption, NATS has provided the Civil Aviation Authority with a preliminary investigation report on the issue, which sets out its causes and details the actions taken to rectify and mitigate the effects.
The report identified a fault with a flight plan processing sub-system called Flight Plan Reception Suite Automated – Replacement (FPRSA-R). The system encountered a rare set of circumstances with a flight plan that included two identically named, but separate waypoint markers outside of UK airspace.
This led to a ‘critical exception’ where both the primary system and its backup entered a fail-safe mode.
The system was then unable to reject or accept the flight plan without a clear understanding of its impact, as this would have risked presenting air traffic controllers with incorrect safety critical information.
It therefore took time to manually identify the problemand the specific data and to then isolate and remove it in a controlled way.
This is the first time that this scenario has been encountered, with the system having previously processed more than 15 million flight plans over 5 years. The report states that steps have now been taken to ensure the incident cannot be repeated.
“Keeping the sky safe is what guides every action we take, and that was our priority during last week’s incident. I would like to reiterate my apology for the effects it had on so many people, including our airline and airport customers. Incidents like this are extremely rare and we have put measures in place to ensure it does not happen again.
“Our preliminary report, provided to the CAA this week, details what caused the incident, how we responded and the steps already taken to prevent recurrence. We welcome any further review of the incident that the CAA wishes to conduct.”
The UK Civil Aviation Authority will now conduct an independent review on the wider issues around the system failure and how NATS responded to it.
If evidence emerges to suggest that NATS may have breached its statutory and licensing obligations, the UK Civil Aviation Authority will take any appropriate steps.
The review will also determine lessons to be learned for the future.
“Millions of passengers every year rely on air traffic control to work smoothly and safely. The initial report by NATS raises several important questions and as the regulator we want to make sure these are answered for passengers and industry.”
Details of the independent review will be published by the end of September 2023.
UPS and Aurrigo have launched a pilot programme to trial the use of an autonomous electric cargo vehicle at East Midlands Airport (EMA).
Bristol Airport (BRS) is investing 60 million GBP in constructing a new public transport interchange hub and multi-storey car park.
Southampton Airport (SOU) has officially opened its runway extension at an event attended by the UK's Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere.
London Luton Airport (LTN) is investing 30 million GBP in further enhancing the security and departure experience for its passengers.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) has awarded two major contracts as part of its North Terminal redevelopment project.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has commenced a trial to explore the viability of using lower-carbon concrete in the airport environment.
London Gatwick's planning application to bring its Northern Runway into routine use has been accepted for detailed examination.
Two projects led by ULEMCo and Element 2 have received government funding to support the rollout of hydrogen-powered ground support vehicles.
The UK Home Office has announced that all eGates are now open for children aged 10 and 11 years old following successful trials in spring.
NATS has been contracted to deliver a new contingency control tower at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to replace the existing facility.
British Airways is trialling a new digital wayfinding tool to help passengers navigate through London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Leeds Bradford Airport has contracted Leidos to provide new scanners, tray return systems and security software at its security checkpoint.
Edinburgh Airport has selected Smiths Detection to supply 8 computed tomography (CT) scanners that will enhance operations through security.
London Stansted Airport (STN) has announced its intention to submit a planning application for an expansion of its terminal building.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is preparing a planning application to put its Northern Runway into regular use, for departures.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) has become the latest airport to deploy Veovo’s Intelligent Airport Platform to enhance its operations.
London Stansted Airport (STN) has completed its runway resurfacing project two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.
Loganair, the UK's largest regional airline, has achieved its first all-electric aircraft turnaround following a 2 million GBP investment.
Menzies Aviation has extended its partnership with i6 to deploy digital fuel management technology at four additional UK airports.
A consortium led by Glasgow Airport and Ikigai has secured funding to explore the feasibility of a hydrogen production and distribution hub.
Cardiff Airport (CWL) has deployed Veovo's Intelligent Airport Platform to enhance its operational efficiency and revenue management.
The Jet Zero Council has released a plan for developing zero-emission aircraft and installing the related infrastructure at UK airports.
Southampton Airport has celebrated the start of construction on a 17 million GBP project to extend the northern end of its runway.
The UK government has concluded its review of the airport ground handling market and set out how the sector can increase its resilience.
Luton Rising has confirmed that the Luton DART connecting London Luton Airport with national rail services has officially opened.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has released its 2022 Sustainability report, which records "a year of progress" towards its net-zero goals.
Rushlift GSE has won an extension on its five-year agreement to manage easyJet’s ground-handling fleet at London Gatwick Airport (LGW).
London Luton Airport (LTN) has submitted an application to expand its current cap of 18 million annual passengers up to 32 million passengers.
Ferrovial Construction has trialled Reactec’s R-Link smart watch to improve worker safety at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Luton Rising and Luton Council have confirmed that the Luton DART will start carrying its first passengers on Friday 10 March.
London Luton Airport (LTN) has selected Leidos as the principal contractor to upgrade technology across multiple security checkpoints.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has embarked on the second year of its Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) incentive scheme.
ZeroAvia and Birmingham Airport (BHX) have announced a partnership to support zero-emission, hydrogen-powered air travel.
London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports are trialling the use of eGates for children aged 10 and 11 during half term travel.
Glasgow Airport has announced a five-year partnership with Connected Places Catapult to establish the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab.
Scotland's Transport Minister has opened Inverness Airport rail station, with passenger trains arriving and departing from 3 February.
The High Court has dismissed a legal challenge against the Planning Inspectorate’s permission for Bristol Airport to expand its capacity.
The UK government has announced that airport slot rules will be restored to pre-pandemic levels for the upcoming travel periods.
Manchester Airports Group has announced a 440 million GBP investment in transforming Manchester Airport (MAN) Terminal 2.
Teesside International Airport is the first in the UK to be fully ready for new security rules, having installed two CT scanners at security.
London Stansted (STN) has commenced a five-month programme managed by Lagan to fully resurface its single runway.
Following a series of delays and cost increases, the Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) automated people mover (APM) is now on schedule to commence service la...
The UK government has announced new legislation for 2024 which will allow airport passengers to benefit from the latest security technology.
London Heathrow and Mace have employed a robotic dog, Dave, developed by Boston Dynamics to help refurbish the airport's cargo tunnel.
Agilent is deploying its next generation of alarm resolution technology, Insight200M, at London Heathrow Airport.
Manchester Airport aims to become the first UK airport to have a direct supply of low carbon hydrogen fuel due to a collaboration with HyNet.
Costain is partnering with London Heathrow to deliver the airport's new infrastructure improvements and advance its journey to net-zero.
London City Airport (LCY) is partnering with Leidos to transform its security experience with full CT scanner operation from April 2023.
British Airways has become the first UK airline to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights.
Bristol Airport and Jet2.com have opened an airside electric vehicle charging hub with Airport Carbon Transition (ACT) funding.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is partnering with Katrick Technologies to capture previously untapped wind energy across the airport campus.
AGS Airports is collaborating with ZeroAvia to explore the development of hydrogen fuel infrastructure for delivering zero-emission flights.
ZIEGLER Group will supply the world’s first hybrid aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle to Cranfield Airport in Bedfordshire, UK.
London Stansted Airport has opened a new double airbridge to boost its ability to handle long-haul aircraft.
London Gatwick (LGW) has completed the resurfacing of its main runway using 70% less asphalt compared to traditional resurfacing methods.
London City Airport (LCY), SSP, Lagardère Travel Retail and WHSmith are investing 12 million GBP in refurbishing LCY's departures lounge.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and GRIDSERVE have started construction on the airport's Electric Forecourt®.
IAG Cargo has begun trials of its first Terberg electric terminal tractor at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
C4i Pty Ltd, member of the Frequentis Group, has provided its VOICE C2 voice over IP (VoIP) VCS for the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) Guardian project.
London Stansted has received planning permission from the Secretary of State to develop its airport solar farm.
Travelex has launched a Foreign Currency ATM click & collect service at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.
National Express is trialling an electric bus to carry passengers from their gate to the plane at London Stansted Airport.
At a Future Mobility Sector Day, Petalite argued that the industry needs an increased focus on charging infrastructure for electric aircraft.
Farnborough Airport has appointed McLaughlin & Harvey and Gebler Tooth to design and construct its new 55 million GBP Domus III hangar.
London Stansted has completed a 12 million GBP (14.5m USD) refurbishment of its international departure lounge.
At Farnborough International Airshow, the UK government released its Jet Zero strategy, mandating all airports to be zero-emission by 2040.
Farnborough Airport has become the first airport in the world to offer Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for the same price as Jet A1 fuel.
Birmingham Airport (BHX) has announced it will invest in upgrading and expanding its security area by June 2024.
The CAA has published its Final Proposals for the maximum passenger charges at Heathrow Airport over the next five years.
Gatwick Airport has announced a focused statutory public consultation on plans to bring the Northern Runway into routine use.
Edinburgh Airport has started powering its airside vehicles with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel rather than diesel to reduce emissions.
London Stansted and its retail partners have invested over 12 million GBP in renovating the airport's international departure lounge.
Within weeks of implementing SITA Airport Management, London Luton Airport (LLA) is reaping the benefits of streamlining its day-to-day operations.
Heathrow has implemented Oracle Fusion Cloud as part of its strategy to modernise key operations, digitise infrastructure, and support growth
Menzies Aviation has renewed a contract for the provision of into-plane fuelling operations for Shell Aviation across its entire UK fuelling network.
Glasgow Airport is replacing the LED airfield floodlights with a more sustainable model that is 25% more energy efficient.
London Oxford Airport has commenced the New Year with a significant upgrade of its Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS) to Category 6.
The new Oshkosh Strikers were delivered in early December, 2021, and support operations at the Isle of Man Airport (IOM).
Pangiam and Google Cloud collaborate on Project DARTMOUTH to automate cabin baggage screening throughout airport security with AI technology.
Gatwick Airport and GRIDSERVE will build the Gatwick Electric Forecourt – an electric charging, net zero equivalent to a petrol station.
Belfast International Airport has achieved gold level in the 2021 Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey.
Glasgow Airport has installed two Reverse Vending Machines to encourage passengers and staff to recycle more of their cans and bottles.
Farnborough Airport won the title of FBO of the year in The Air Charter Association (ACA) Excellence Awards 2021.
easyJet will open the doors to its first airport lounge in collaboration with No1 Lounges at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport.
MAG will provide passengers the ability to offset the carbon emissions from their flights in a new partnership with CarbonClick.
As of October 31, VINCI Airports will make sustainable biofuels available to airlines operating at Gatwick Airport.
Plaza Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Airport T2 has again been voted “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge.”
Plaza Premium Group, the pioneers in global airport hospitality, has announced the opening of Plaza Premium Lounge at London Gatwick Airport.
Bristol Airport continues with its strategy of reducing airport operating emissions by trialling an electric airside bus.
Gatwick has announced that this year, a public consultation will start to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside its Main Runway.
Frequentis is successfully implementing three VCS systems for Ports of Jersey, supporting main, contingency and emergency operation systems.
Dufry has successfully extended its contract to operate the tax and duty free store at Cardiff Airport in Wales for a further 12 years
Teesside Airport will be the UK’s first pilot area to test hydrogen vehicles as part of the Tees Valley’s status as the country’s Hydrogen Transport Hub.
Following a six-figure investment, George Best Belfast City Airport has launched a major five-year, digital transformation programme.
Farnborough Airport, is delighted to offer Sustainable Aviation Fuel to all aircraft using the airport from this week.
Manchester Airport today confirmed the first passengers will pass through its new Terminal Two extension on Wednesday this week.
An eleven-acre solar farm is to be constructed on Edinburgh Airport’s airfield as the airport publishes its sustainability strategy.
A new system being developed by Kromek to detect coronavirus in the air has been installed at Teesside International Airport in new trial.
Working alongside Vitol Aviation and Neste, Heathrow has successfully incorporated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its operation.
Please fill in the contact form opposite. A member of the team will be in touch shortly.