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Day of Action held over Heathrow third runway plans

A day of action has been held near Heathrow to highlight "the devastation" campaigners claim will be caused by a third runway.

They say historic buildings would be threatened from the development with more flights causing extra noise and pollution across the Thames Valley.

But those in favour insist the £18bn scheme would create thousands of jobs and boost the regional economy.

Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports..

Young people invited to UK's largest careers fair

The fair is aimed at the region's young people Credit: PA

Heathrow Airport is today hosting its 8th Annual Jobs and Careers Fair, the UK's largest single-day careers event.

The fair features several employers not necessarily based at Heathrow, such as Transport for London, and community organisations like Green Corridor or The Challenge.

Over 76,500 people work at Heathrow across 400 different companies.

The fair will take place at the Hilton Hotel, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

It welcomes schools and college groups between 9.30am and 3.30pm and the evening session between 3.30pm and 7.00pm is aimed at young people aged 15 - 24 and their parents.


Timelapse video shows Heathrow radar being removed

The radar next to Terminal 1 is removed Credit: NATS

The Heathrow skyline changed forever when one of its most iconic features – the orange and white radar next to Terminal 1 – was removed. NATS installed the radar in the early 1980s. It then remained operational and untouched until 1999 when the antenna was replaced. The radar provided en route and airport radar services until it was finally decommissioned two years ago and replaced by the new radar station in Bovingdon.


The Christmas present that could cause a tragedy

Radio controlled drones are the ultimate boy's toy and, despite costing anything from hundreds to thousands of pounds, shops are reporting huge sales this Christmas.

But a new report shows how disaster was narrowly avoided earlier this year when a drone flew within 20 feet of a passenger plane landing at Heathrow.

It's prompted fresh warnings of the dangers of using drones. But, as Emma Wilkinson reports many people say they're great fun - when used responsibly.

Independent inquiry into Friday's airport chaos

The Government has ordered an independent inquiry after Friday's air traffic control failure left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded or delayed.

The Transport Minister said the problems - at the National Air Traffic Control Centre in Swanwick, in Hampshire - must never be repeated. The widespread chaos has been blamed on a computer problem.

Experts say had the failure happened this coming week, with the Christmas getaway, the problems could have been far more severe.

Gatwick and Heathrow were worst hit - but dozens of smaller airports across the South East were also closed for a time. Juliette Fletcher reports

NATS boss should be "stripped of bonus" says MP

Queues at Heathrow during Friday's disruption Credit: PA

An MP has called for bonuses to be "stripped" from a top boss after an unprecedented systems failure at the UK's national air traffic control centre.

The problem, involving computer code written a quarter of a century ago, was responsible for widespread disruption at British airports.

Richard Deakin, chief executive of Nats, the company responsible for controlling British airspace, said the software glitch was "buried" among millions of lines of code at the site in Swanwick, Hampshire.

Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, spoke out about Mr Deakin's role.

He told The Sunday Times: "I hope after the chaos, which was dreadful, though a rare event, he will have his bonuses stripped from him."

Mr Deakin earns more than £1 million after receiving a 45% pay rise this year, according to The Sunday Times.

NATS Headquarters at Swanwick in Hampshire Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Nats was reportedly warned about the quality of its plans to deal with technical failures.

The Independent on Sunday said Nats gave the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) a report earlier this year following major disruption caused by a communications problem last December.

The CAA said "themes on avoiding a recurrence" were a "good first step but lack detail and clarity", the newspaper reported.

Passengers faced travel chaos as dozens of flights at airports around the country were disrupted or cancelled on Friday and early yesterday.

About 40 flights at Heathrow were cancelled before 9.30am, after which the airport said normal service was resumed.

Queues at Heathrow on Friday Credit: PA

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described the disruption as unacceptable, and MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Transport Committee, said Mr McLoughlin will be asked about the incident when he appears before the panel on Monday.

'Unprecedented' failure sparked airport chaos

Passengers stranded at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport yesterday Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Image

The chaos that hit British airports yesterday was sparked by an unprecedented systems failure, it was disclosed today.

Air traffic control company Nats has given its first detailed explanation of the problem at its national centre in Swanwick, Hampshire, that saw dozens of flights cancelled and delayed.

It said: 'Swanwick controller workstations provide a number of tools and services to the controller to enable them to safely control a high volume of air traffic.

'In normal operations the number of workstations in use versus in standby fluctuates with the demands of the traffic being controlled.

'In this instance a transition between the two states caused a failure in the system which has not been seen before. The failure meant that the controllers were unable to access all of the data regarding individual flight plans which significantly increases their workload.

'Our priority is to maintain a safe operation for the flying public; consequently when the failure occurred we immediately took steps to reduce the traffic into and out of the UK network.

'The controllers had a full radar picture and full communications with all aircraft at all times during the incident and at no time was safety compromised in any way.'

Nats said it understood the problem was connected to a number of workstations 'in a certain state' combined with the number of 'air space sectors' open.

Officials restricted air space in response to the issue, leaving flights at some airports grounded yesterday.

Nats declared that its systems were back to full operational capacity last night but a knock-on effect has been seen at airports today.

Heathrow said 38 flights had been cancelled before 9.30am.

In a statement, the airport said: 'Following yesterday's technical problem at the Nats air traffic control centre in Swanwick, operations have started up well at Heathrow on what is a very busy day.

'There will, though, be cancellations to some flights because aircraft and crew are out of position.

'Passengers due to depart today should check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to Heathrow. We are very sorry for the disruption to passengers' journeys.'

Gatwick reported that there had been 16 cancellations and seven diversions of inbound flights yesterday but said the airport was running normally today.

A British Airways spokeswoman said: 'We've been working hard to look after our customers following the air traffic control system failure, yesterday.

'We don't expect to see any further significant disruption to our flights, for the remainder of the day.'

Airports as far north as Aberdeen and Edinburgh were also affected by the computer problem. Other airports that reported delays yesterday afternoon included Manchester, Stansted and Luton.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has described the disruption as unacceptable.

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