IAG Cargo, the cargo-handling division of the International Airlines Group, has reported that it remained unaffected by a recent air traffic control failure by the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) in the UK.
On August 28, NATS experienced a technical issue that disrupted its flight planning system, forcing manual processing of flight plans and leading to traffic flow restrictions. This hiccup resulted in a significant number of flight delays and cancellations for various airlines, including IAG-owned British Airways.
Despite the turmoil in the UK's airspace, IAG Cargo continued its operations without interruptions. A spokesperson from IAG Cargo confirmed that the cargo volumes were minimally impacted, primarily affecting narrowbody aircraft.
NATS eventually resolved the technical issue on the same day, but the ripple effects continued to cause delays. Heathrow Airport acknowledged the disruption and advised passengers to travel only if their flights were confirmed as operating.
While the International Air Transport Association (IATA) did not provide specific comments on the impact of cargo, IATA's Director General, Willie Walsh, expressed dissatisfaction with NATS's handling of the situation. Walsh called the failure of the essential service unacceptable and questioned the oversight of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is responsible for reviewing NATS's resilience plan under its license.
The CAA is now awaiting NATS' incident report, which will be shared with the UK Secretary of State for Transport once completed, shedding light on the extent of the disruption and its implications for the aviation industry.