Airline passengers suffered a day of delays and frustration as a telephone system glitch at air traffic control caused major disruption at airports across the UK and Ireland.
Heathrow Airport was the worst affected, with 228 cancellations. At Stansted Airport, flights were delayed throughout the whole day. The average delay was two hours, a spokesperson said.
Eurocontrol, the European organisation for air navigation safety, said it had been working with Nats and its counterparts in Holland and France during the day.
It said about 1,300 flights, nearly 8% of all traffic in Europe, had been "severely delayed."
Technical problems that caused delays and cancellations at airports across the UK and Ireland have been resolved, the National Air Traffic Service (Nats) said.
Thousands of passengers were left stranded in airports around England and further afield today after an technical glitch at the National Air Traffic Services' control centre in Swanwick. Computers crashed this morning when operators tried to switch from day to night operations.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled and delayed, whilst thousands of passengers were stuck on aircrafts for hours before taking off.
Lewis Vaughan Jones reports.
Ryanair has hit out at the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for failing to have a contingency plan in the event of an air traffic control (ATC) failure, like the one that disrupted thousands of people's flights this morning.
Hundreds of flights were delayed and cancelled across southern England, Ireland and other parts of northern Europe after an ATC problem in Swanwick. A spokesperson said:
Ryanair is calling on the CAA to intervene and prevent further chaos for thousands of passengers affected by this ATC failure.
While we acknowledge problems can occur, where is the contingency? It's simply not good enough and the CAA needs to act now.
Over 300 Ryanair flights to and from the south of England have been affected, with 12 cancelled so far.
We apologise to affected passengers, however these circumstances are entirely beyond our control.
Passengers were left stranded today when a technical problem at an air traffic control centre caused chaos at airports across the UK and Ireland.A recent court ruling against Ryanair clarified the rights passengers have when their flight is cancelled or delayed:
- If your flight has been cancelled, your airline must get you to your destination or offer you a full refund.
- If your flight is severely delayed, your are entitled to food, drinks, and some communications.
- If you are delayed overnight, this means a hotel
With hundreds of flights delayed or canceled due to a technical problem at an air traffic control centre, passengers find themselves stranded in airports around the country.
Closest I'm getting to Milan today is cafe Nero at heathrow. All flights cancelled :( cheese panini n espresso please. Ciao #egg
@british_airways poor service-flight cancelled, no warning/explanation.4 staff for 200 passengers at Vienna airport. Bad end to honeymoon.
At Heathrow's Terminal 5, the queue to re-book cancelled flights with British Airways stretches almost the entire length of the terminal building.
One family, about three-quarters of the way up, said they had already been waiting an hour and a half.
They were due to fly to Frankfurt this morning but their flight was cancelled. They don't know whether they may be able to get on a flight tonight or have to wait until tomorrow morning.
Airport staff are moving through the queue handing out bottles of water.
Despite the disruption, and the huge number of frustrated passengers waiting for news, there is a surprising calm in the terminal as people wait patiently to discover if and when they will be able to leave.
Thousands of people have been affected after a technical problem at an air traffic control centre caused chaos at airports across the UK.
- Heathrow cancelled 217 flights so far today
- Gatwick cancelled five flights but experienced 86 delays
- Stansted said flights had been delayed by up to three hours
- Other airports affected: Dublin, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Luton, London City, Exeter and Newcastle
- The National Air Traffic Service said the disruption has caused a 20 per cent reduction in flights handled
- The company said the issue would not be fixed until between 6.30pm and 7pm
There have been 217 flights cancelled at Heathrow Airport today as a result of a technical problem at an air traffic control centre.