Whiteley air traffic firm is dealt a blow as it loses work

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HAMPSHIRE’S air navigation team has spoken of its disappointment after the firm lost its contract to assist planes flying below 4,000ft at Gatwick Airport.

NATS, based in Whiteley, has been replaced by Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) after the German state-owned company clinched a 10-year contract to provide Gatwick’s traffic control services.

NATS says it is ‘extremely disappointed’ about the decision and it is too early to say whether jobs will go.

The firm will continue to navigate air traffic above 4,000ft.

Mike Stoller, director of operations (airports) for NATS, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the highly-competitive bid we submitted to Gatwick has been unsuccessful.

‘We have added considerable value to Gatwick in recent years, building it to the point where with 55 movements an hour it significantly out-performs every other single runway airport in the world.’

Gatwick management say that after a period of transition, DFS would start work in October 2015.

The firm operates 16 airports in Germany.