Air traffic executives get £140,000 bonus

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The Independent Online

Three executives from the National Air Traffic Services have shared a bonus of £140,000, despite the company facing massive losses and record flight delays.

Richard Everitt, the chief executive, received a bonus of £58,000 last year, bringing his annual pay to £385,000. Colin Chisholm, the chief operating officer and Nigel Fotherby, the finance director, shared £86,000, bringing their total packages to more than £200,000 each, according to the company's annual report, released yesterday.

The company has acquired a reputation as being the "Railtrack of the skies" after suffering financial losses amounting to £110m over the past two years.

Since it was part-privatised in 2001, average flight delays rose from 1.4 minutes to 2.2 minutes in 2002.The increase was attributed to computer glitches, a staff reduction of eight per cent and the company's relocation to a £632m control centre at Swanwick, Hampshire.The company was also affected by the drop in demand for flights after the 11 September attacks.

Four months ago, the company was given a £130m lifeline by the Government and the airport operator BAA to ease its financial difficulties.

Chris Gibson-Smith, the chairman, said in the report: "The whole aviation industry speaks with one voice in characterising the challenges we have all faced in the last 12 months as being unprecedented."