NEWS: More about the UK’s ATC situation & its history plus more long haul destinations reopen

Hilton Moorea

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More about the UK’s ATC situation

Recently I wrote this article about the plight facing ATC in the current aviation situation. NATS, who run most of the ATC in the UK responded, so I thought it was only fair to cover what they said.

Air Traffic Controllers at NATS controlling aircraft over the south east of England

NATS gave notice to our trade unions that we need to renegotiate the existing process that governs how we conduct any redundancies should they be needed as a result of the impact COVID-19 is having on the aviation sector.

The terms of the current process were negotiated in 2009 and either party has the right to terminate the agreement by giving a year’s notice. It was appropriate for the time it was created but never anticipated a global aviation crisis like the one we currently face.

Obviously everyone hopes redundancies won’t be needed, but we have to take seriously the widely reported announcements from the airlines to significantly reduce their fleet sizes and flying programmes for the longer term.  

It is to prepare for this that we have initiated the notice period. Our current redundancy terms are among the most generous in the UK, but would be unaffordable in the circumstances we now face. During the 12 month notice period we would like to negotiate a new agreement with our trade unions that is aligned to market practice while also agreeing a range of measures to help mitigate the need for redundancies.


ATC’s 100th anniversary

If you an aviation history fan, you may also like to know that it is the 100th anniversary of when the first air traffic control tower opened. 

London Croydon Airport was the birthplace of Air Traffic Control in the UK. Not only was it the site of the first Control Tower, it was also the place where many of the early innovations like Wireless Position Fixing and ‘MAYDAY’ were developed.

Ian Walker, Chair of Historic Croydon Airport Trust explains the origins of Air Traffic Control, while Juliet Kennedy, NATS Operations Director, looks at the legacy of those early pioneers 100 years on.

You can find out a lot more about the history of ATC on this page.  


More long haul destinations announce reopening

Although you may not want to book to travel long-haul right now, if you have something booked and were desperately hoping you can still go, two more exotic locations have formally announced that they will reopen. 


Jamaica has announced it will reopen its borders for international travelers on June 15. After June 15, all visitors will be screened via thermal temperature checks and symptom observation. If a passenger’s temperature is elevated, the visitor will be subject to additional screening, including testing, if needed.

Any visitor who exhibits symptoms or is ill will be subject to quarantine. Jamaica’s health and safety protocols will be revisited every two weeks, which is consistent with the government’s approach of evaluating the COVID-19 global situation. They still have active COVID cases but the numbers are fairly low. You can check the current status of the situation on their official website here. 


French Polynesia

Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort

This is one close to my heart as I was due to be travelling their in early September for my dream trip to celebrate my birthday. Everything I had booked was refundable since it was all on miles and points. I decided I don’t want to spend 20 hours travelling in a mask and then find that everything is still not really “normal” so I will aim to go next year instead. I am also concerned that flights may not operate as I have a complex routing all on different tickets! Finally getting a test within 72 hours of arrival for somewhere that takes around 24 hours to get to is going to be very tricky. 

However, if you do want to book a trip, the good news is that the islands have announced their reopening and the hotels are also doing the same.

French Polynesia has had no active cases of COVID 19  since May 29th. The country’s authorities announced today the borders will be re-opening to international tourism in French Polynesia starting on July 15th, 2020.

Details are as follows:

  • July 15th, 2020: Quarantine measures will be completely lifted and French Polynesia’s borders will re-open to international tourism from all countries.
  • Compulsory COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test 72 hours before the departure to French Polynesia
  • Compulsory international travel insurance for every non-resident visitor traveling to French Polynesia
  • Travelers who have tested COVID-19 positive more than 3 weeks prior to the departure and who have an immunity certificate proving their recovery are exempt from the requirements listed above
  • Random tests during stay after 4 days
  • Must provide accommodation details
  • Regular visits from medical staff authorized by the Department of Health will be held in the accommodations and hotel establishments
  • Wearing masks recommended

You can find the official requirements here.

Hotels reopening:


  • Tahiti Ia Ora Beach Resort – July 1, 2020
  • Sofitel Moorea – July 1, 2020
  • Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island – July 1, 2020
  • Sofitel Bora Bora Beach Resort – closed for renovations


  • Conrad Bora Bora Nui – July 15, 2020
  • Hilton Moorea – July 20, 2020


  • InterContinental Tahiti – July 1, 2020
  • InterContinental Moorea – closed permanently
  • InterContinental Le Moana – July 15, 2020
  • InterContinental Thalasso – July 15, 2020


  • St. Regis Bora Bora – July 1, 2020 (only overwater villas – general availability from July 23)
  • Le Meridien Bora Bora – not accepting reservations – closed for renovations

HT: Loyalty Lobby

5 Comments on "NEWS: More about the UK’s ATC situation & its history plus more long haul destinations reopen"

  1. Took a Windstar cruise around French Polynesia last year as part of a 6 week trip around NZ as well. You won’t regret visiting there, but you must take in some of the other islands.

  2. Would you be able to expand on how COVID-19 test will be done and will tests be free of charge or will passengers have to pay for the tests privately ?. You have mentioned a PCR test for COVID-19, is it a venous blood test or a POCT (finger test)? I am looking foward to your reply.

  3. ClaytonTheCruton | 12 June 2020 at 4:26 am |

    I’m not sure NATS can turn around trumpet how their redundancy terms are amongst the best in the country when literally in the next sentence they then say ‘and that’s why we want to change them’ ?

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