National Air Traffic Service loses out on contract to German firm sparking jobs fears

The National Air Traffic Service missed out on a new Gatwick contract.

The National Air Traffic Service missed out on a new Gatwick contract.

First published in News
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Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

Jobs at the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) in Swanwick could be under threat after the company lost out on a major contract.

The firm was outbid by German firm Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) to provide air traffic control services at Gatwick.

The service, which navigates planes travelling under 4,000ft, has been provided by NATS for 30 years, but after a competitive tendering process Gatwick announced the ten-year contract would go to DFS.

NATS 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.”

The firm said it was too early to say if jobs would go.

Gatwick bosses said following a period of transition, it was anticipated DFS would start work in October 2015.

Chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick operates the busiest and most efficient single-runway airport in the world. Naturally safety comes first in everything that we do.

“DFS is a well-known and well-respected provider in this industry and across Europe and has demonstrated a forward-looking approach to its business which matches our own ambitious plans to grow.”

Comments (1)

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12:44pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Watersider says...

I write as a NATS employee and find the two articles you have written about this loss of contract so ill-informed it beggars belief and you are quite simply scare mongering.

There will be no job losses at Swanwick as a result of losing the Gatwick contract, they are different parts of the business. There could be a change in the headcount at Swanwick for other reasons, but the work load at Swanwick will remain the same whoever holds the Gatwick contract.

You may also like to consider that NATS are an excellent employer, well in my opinion having worked for a number of organisations and have so far never made any compulsory redundancies, those who have left on voluntary redundancy terms have been well looked after.

You also fail to consider that whilst the people employed at Gatwick are regrettably going through a period of considerable uncertainty, DFS will require people to operate the tower and being as this is airfield specific, they will probably be keen to recruit a significant number of the Gatwick personnel. I suspect that NATS will then be trying to find suitable positions elsewhere for those who are not offered position with DFS or would prefer not to take up this offer.

As an aside it is an extremely bitter pill for us at NATS for DFS to be able to compete on our territory, but we are not allowed to compete on theirs. The playing field needs to be levelled.
I write as a NATS employee and find the two articles you have written about this loss of contract so ill-informed it beggars belief and you are quite simply scare mongering. There will be no job losses at Swanwick as a result of losing the Gatwick contract, they are different parts of the business. There could be a change in the headcount at Swanwick for other reasons, but the work load at Swanwick will remain the same whoever holds the Gatwick contract. You may also like to consider that NATS are an excellent employer, well in my opinion having worked for a number of organisations and have so far never made any compulsory redundancies, those who have left on voluntary redundancy terms have been well looked after. You also fail to consider that whilst the people employed at Gatwick are regrettably going through a period of considerable uncertainty, DFS will require people to operate the tower and being as this is airfield specific, they will probably be keen to recruit a significant number of the Gatwick personnel. I suspect that NATS will then be trying to find suitable positions elsewhere for those who are not offered position with DFS or would prefer not to take up this offer. As an aside it is an extremely bitter pill for us at NATS for DFS to be able to compete on our territory, but we are not allowed to compete on theirs. The playing field needs to be levelled. Watersider
  • Score: 33

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