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UK flights resume after air traffic control ‘technical glitch’ caused holiday delays

A Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-1000 seen taxiing past the air traffic control tower at London Heathrow Airport in the UK

nuphoto | nuphoto | Getty Images

Britain’s air traffic control provider said on Monday it had “identified and resolved” an earlier technical issue that had caused flights across the country to be disrupted.

In an afternoon update, the National Air Traffic Service said it was now working with airlines and airports to manage affected flights following warnings that passengers could face delays up to 12 o’clock.

“We identified and resolved this morning the technical issue affecting our flight planning system. We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage affected flights as efficiently as possible,” NATS said in a statement released. at 3:15 p.m. London time. .

“Our engineers will carefully monitor system performance as we resume normal operations,” he added.

NATS did not provide further details about the cause of the problem or the remaining flight restrictions.

This follows earlier announcements from the agency, in which it said a technical glitch had disrupted its ability to automatically process flight plans and that air traffic control was instead handled manually.

“We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic restrictions to maintain security,” NATS said in a statement released at 12:10 p.m. “Engineers are working to find and fix the problem.”

In an update posted at 2:20 p.m., NATS said the issue remains unresolved and air traffic control is being handled manually for now.

“This morning’s technical issue affects our ability to automatically process flight plans. Until our engineers resolve this issue, flight plans are entered manually, which means we cannot process them in the same volume, that’s why we applied traffic restrictions,” he said. .

Disruption of holiday travel

NATS first announced the disruption at 12.10pm and clarified that “UK airspace is not closed” following reports posted on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.

The air traffic control problem was announced earlier by Scottish airline Loganair, who said about X that there was a “network-wide outage of UK air traffic control computer systems this morning”.

Passengers have been warned that they could face serious delays. This comes during the busy UK bank holiday travel period, with many people returning from summer holidays.

Gatwick Airport, London’s second largest airport, said it was “noting delays, and [flight] cancellations are likely”, while Luton Airport said the air traffic control problem “affected British airspace, causing disruption to flights”.

Meanwhile, Stansted Airport said he was “aware of a nationwide air traffic control issue affecting flights to and from airports across the country”.

Flight tracking website Flightradar24 shared an X-ray image of live air traffic data at 12:35 p.m. London time.

In an accompanying statement, he said UK airports, including Heathrow, appear to be “significantly limiting departures”, even as arrivals continue. He added that all of his most followed flights are currently arrivals in London.


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