NATIONAL Air Traffic Services (NATS) has responded to Ryanair's claims that it was their "mismanagement" and "incompetence" which caused 360,000 passengers to have their flights cancelled in August "without plausible explanation."

NATS is a global leader in airline traffic and control.

On August 28/29, 2,000 flights were cancelled and another 5,000 were delayed.

NATS limited the number of planes flying into and out of airports, including Bristol Airport, due to a "flight planning issue."

Because of this, there was ongoing disruption, even after the problem was solved.

Ryanair has called for the UK Government to reform ATC and reimburse passengers.

Ryanair’s head of Communications, Jade Kirwan, said: "While we continue to grow and provide unbeatable route choice and low fares to our 52m p.a. UK customers, NATS are busy writing 'whitewash' reports to cover up their inexplicable incompetence, which led to the cancellation of over 2,000 flights (over 360,000 passengers) and long delays to more than 5,000 flights (900,000 passengers) on Mon 28/Tues 29 Aug last.

"Ryanair calls on Transport Minister, Mark Harper, and the UK Govt to urgently reform ATC and guarantee UK passengers that they will not suffer any more disruptions as a result of repeated NATS failures, mismanagement and incompetence.”

A spokesperson from NATS said: “NATS has an obligation to ensure air traffic safety over all other factors. As a result of that, government legislation ensures that we can take appropriate measures to reduce the number of planes in the air when needed.

"Consequently, there is no mechanism for NATS to reimburse passengers directly. Airlines, however, will see a reduction in future ATC charges where our service delivery standards do not meet the regulators targets. 
“UK airspace remains some of the most complex and busiest in the world.

"This year so far, NATS has safely managed more than 1.8m flights in UK airspace, compared with 1.6m in the same period last year, an increase of over 12%;  NATS has handled more than 23% of European en-route traffic with the proportion of European delay attributed to NATS (NERL), as reported by Eurocontrol, just 1.7%.”