North West passengers facing disruption after air traffic control issue hits flights

ITV Granada's Claire Hannah reports from Manchester Airport

Dozens of flights from Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon airports have been cancelled, after a technical issue with air traffic control systems.

Both have warned of the potential of delays and further cancellations, after the problems on Monday 28 August, which is one of the busiest days of the years for travel.

The issues were UK-wide and linked to Air Traffic Control centres outside the North West.

One passenger Paul Gibson at Manchester Airport described the situation as "chaos."

"We were told when we arrived that the gate would be called at one o'clock, instead it wasn't," he said.

"We got very little information and then eventually found out the flights had been cancelled by going to the board and everything just disappeared."

Passengers trying to travel home from abroad were also hit by disruption.

Ross Chandley was meant to fly back to Liverpool, from a holiday in Mallorca, on Monday. His family's easyJet flight was cancelled and originally rescheduled for Sunday 3 September which Mr Chandledescribed as being a "while away."

"Kept ringing [easyJet] customer service," he said, "and managed to get a flight for tonight at 11 o'clock - which is now delayed by two hours and will probably be cancelled as well.

"I understand it's a bizarre circumstance - it's not their fault - but I'm with my 10-year-old daughter and I either want a bed or to go home."

A spokesperson for easyJet told ITV News: "We have been doing everything we can to minimise the impact of the disruption, providing customers with information on their options to transfer their flight for free or receive a refund, securing hotel accommodation where possible and advising any customers who make their own accommodation or alternative travel arrangements that they will be reimbursed.

"While this is outside of our control, we apologise for the difficulty this has caused and we remain focused on doing all possible to assist and repatriate our customers as soon as possible."

Ross Chandley is desperate to get home to Liverpool from Mallorca Credit: ITV News

In a statement, Manchester Airport said: "As a result of the nationwide technical problem experienced by NATS on Monday 28 August, there continues to be some delays and cancellations.

"We advise all passengers to check their flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport."

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) says it has "identified and remedied" the technical issue affecting air traffic control system", but flights across the country will remain significantly disrupted.

NATS, the country’s leading provider of air traffic control service, said it is now working with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected.

The "technical issue" grounded hundreds of flights on one of the busiest travel days of the year with controlling having to manually input flight plans due to a fault with its systems.

It apologised for the disruption caused by the failure, which is causing significant delays at UK airports.

Passengers are still being urged to contact their airline for specific flight information.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “I echo the apology offered by NATS to everyone caught up in the disruption following yesterday’s technical issue with air traffic control.

"My priority continues to be making sure passengers get where they need to be as quickly as possible.

“I am grateful to airlines, airports and Border Force for the work being done to get passengers to their destinations and to provide support while they wait.

“Airlines are clear about their responsibilities to their customers, and I stand ready to provide further appropriate support from the Government should the industry request it.

“Although the air traffic control system is back up and running, the knock-on effects of yesterday’s disruption are likely to continue over the coming days. Passengers due to travel should check with their airlines before heading to the airport.”

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