Boss of Britain's air traffic control set for huge £1.3 MILLION pay cheque following tech failure

Martin Rolfe

Rolfe become CEO in 2015

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 30/08/2023

- 12:29

Updated: 31/08/2023

- 11:17

Martin Rolfe, the head of the National Air Traffic Services, will see his pay double this year

The boss of the UK’s air traffic control system has had his pay double this year to a staggering £1.3million, following the recent air traffic control failure.

Martin Rolfe, 51, received a base salary of £477,000 which was boosted by a £281,000 bonus.

Alongside this, he also received his pension benefits and a £555,000 long-term incentive plan.

His pay package comes after nationwide flight chaos caused by a data processing glitch, which left many stranded in airports over the bank holiday weekend.

Passengers waiting at Heathrow airport

Nats were unable to process some data on Monday, which led to travel chaos


National Air Traffic Services (Nats) admitted in its annual report that it was relying on “ageing systems” which were well beyond their “use by” date.

However, flights were sent into chaos as Nats received data that it was unable to process.

The service had to revert to a manual system which resulted in fewer flights being able to fly.

Nats also had to manually input flight routes which took a long time and resulted in a massive backlog.

Rolfe apologised to those affected by the flight control centre turmoil, which left more than 1,500 flights cancelled on Monday.

The boss joined Nats in 2012 and became CEO in 2015.

Last year, he made the headlines when it was revealed that he got a £1.2million bonus despite cuts on the airline industry due to the pandemic.

Nats controls most aircraft in UK airspace and they receive millions of flight plans every year.

Cancelled flights at Belfast International Airport

More than 1,500 flights were cancelled


Airlines will submit every flight path to the national control centre which will then be shared with Nats controllers.

The fault was fixed three hours after it was identified, but chaos still lingered on until the following day.

The situation is due to be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Rolfe’s wife Anna, a firefighter, insisted that her husband was working non-stop to try and fix the issue.

She said: “I haven’t seen him since yesterday. He went to work as soon as it happened.”

You may like