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Air traffic control strikes in Europe set to disrupt flights

Airline passengers are likely to face travel disruption over the next two days, as strikes are expected across European Air Traffic Control services.

A man sleeps on his baggage Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

The strikes, due to take place in Italy and Portugal, will affect British Airways and easyJet flights to, from and over these countries. BA have said they are planning on using larger planes to help customers affected by cancellations.

The industrial action is being staged by two organisations in protest against the European Commission's Single European Sky initiative, which aims to consolidate air traffic services across the continent, NATS said.

The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) - an umbrella group that represents 14,000 members across 28 countries - is calling the strike for tomorrow, before members of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) then walk out on Thursday.

Air traffic controllers in the UK will be working as normal tomorrow and on Thursday, despite industrial action being planned across Europe

Calls for inquiry after air traffic control glitch

An Air Traffic control company said it would be "to everyone's benefit" if aviation regulators held an inquiry following Saturday's major disruption to flights.

Passengers has to queue at Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Nats has already started its own inquiry into the events when an internal telephone system problem at the company's Hampshire headquarters led to flight delays and cancellations.

Saying he deeply regretted the disruption, Nats chief executive Richad Deakin said the best way forward was an investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) into "the level of contingency and resilience in UK airspace".

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Air traffic control company fix technical problems

Air traffic control company Nats has "identified and corrected" the technical problem which caused delays to thousands of flights in the south of England.

In a statement, the company said:

Operations are now returning to normal and we are working with the airports, airlines and (Europe-wide organisation) Eurocontrol to clear the backlog of flights to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

Outbound delays from the UK have generally been limited to 20 minutes. We regret any inconvenience this technical problem has caused. However, our first priority will always be the safety of the flying public.

UK airspace remains open after technical glitch

Air traffic control company Nats has confirmed that UK airspace remains open but restrictions are in place following "technical problems" at its Hampshire control centre today.

Air traffic control 'working to restore full operations'

Air traffic control company Nats has issued a full statement on "technical problems" at its Hampshire control centre, which has caused delays to thousands of flights.

We are experiencing technical problems at our Swanwick control centre and we are working to restore full operations.

This has not resulted in the closure of UK airspace or the suspension of all flights in or out the UK.

However, to maintain safety, we are restricting the number of aircraft flying across the south of England and those taking off from airports. We regret any inconvenience this may cause; however, our first priority will always be the safety of the flying public.

We are taking every step to restore services and have contingency plans.

– Nats statement

Flights hit by control centre glitch in Hampshire

Thousands of air travellers face delays after air traffic control company Nats experienced "technical problems" at its Hampshire control centre.

The problem led to Nats restricting the number of aircraft flying across the south of England and those taking off from airports.

There will be delays, although we are not sure how long they will be.

– Nats statement

The problem was at Nats' centre at Swanwick, near Southampton.

The company experienced some flight-affecting computer glitches when it first moved to the site about 10 years ago.

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