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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

An interim report, prepared by an Independent Review Panel into the air traffic control failure on 28 August 2023, has been published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

The review into the incident was set up by the regulator following the incident, with an Independent Panel chaired by Jeff Halliwell beginning its inquiry in October 2023.

The regulator estimates that over 700,000 passengers were impacted, including 300,000 people by cancellations, 95,000 by long delays of over 3 hours, and a further 300,000 by shorter delays.

NATS has indicated that it has acted to address a number of findings arising from its own internal investigation.

In its interim report, the Independent Panel notes that it has made good progress, particularly in respect of understanding the cause of the failure, but that other factors require further evidence and investigation, including communications around the incident, the incentive regime for investment and the response by the aviation system.

These, along with the recommendations will be addressed in the Independent Panel’s final report, which is expected to be published later this year.

Jeff Halliwell, Chair of the Independent Review Panel, said:

“This interim report sets out the Panel’s work so far in understanding the root causes of the incident; the effectiveness of communications between NATS, other parts of the aviation sector, and the consumers; and the underpinning regulatory regime.

“In developing the interim report, the Panel has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the final report reflects a diverse range of perspectives.

“In order to produce effective recommendations, the Panel has further lines of enquiry it is exploring in order to build a better understanding of how the aviation system can improve.”

Rob Bishton, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, added:

“The UK Air Traffic Control system is vital to the safe and efficient management of millions of air journeys each year.

“This interim report helps with the understanding of what went wrong, what worked well in response to this, and importantly what action can be taken to improve the UK’s aviation system for the future.

“I’d like to thank the Panel for its continued work on this subject and we look forward to publishing the final report later this year."

Notes to editor

  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s independent aviation and aerospace regulator. We work so that the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards, and that consumers have choice and value for money, and are protected and treated fairly when they fly.
  • The Independent Review of NATS (En Route) Plc’s Flight Planning System Failure Interim Report can be found on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.
  • NATS’s main purpose is to deliver a safe air traffic control system in the UK. Among other things, NATS must also take all reasonable steps to secure that the demand for air traffic services is met.