Union wants an end to air control cuts after chaos

The operations room at National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Swanwick in Hampshire

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A UNION has supported calls for an enquiry into the level of resilience in UK airspace, after a computer failure caused disruption at the weekend.

Prospect wants an enquiry by the Civil Aviation Authority to consider whether staffing cuts will lead to a loss of specialist expertise and what the impact could be on air traffic resilience.

Air traffic control company NATS, based in Swanwick, was told in May by the European Union to reduce its charges for airlines, resulting in a six per cent cut in staff.

Emily Boase, from Prospect, said: ‘Our members pulled out all the stops, putting in extra hours and coming in on their days off to resolve the problems.

‘They worked hard to restore operations and deal with the resulting backlog.

‘But such flexibility is only possible if working practices and staff numbers are robust.

‘We have concerns about the future ability to deal with such crises and recover from operational technical incidents, in the light of the current cost-cutting programme being imposed by the European Union.’

There are two air traffic control centres in the UK, including one at Swanwick.