The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published an interim report into a 28 August 2023 air traffic control failure that impacted an estimated 700,000 passengers, including 300,000 people by cancellations, 95,000 by long delays of over three hours, and a further 300,000 by shorter delays.

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.

In its interim report, the 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 panel’s final report, which is expected to be published later this year.

Halliwell 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.”

CAA chief executive Rob Bishton 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.”
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