Flights hit by air control problem

A "technical problem" at the air traffic control centre is causing delays at London airports.

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Largely trouble-free day predicted for London airports

The technical glitch with air traffic control was fixed yesterday evening Credit: Press Association

A largely trouble-free day is predicted for Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports but there may be further disruption at other airports after yesterday's glitch with air traffic control.

Flights were cancelled or delayed after problems with a telephone system at the National Air Traffic Service.

The problem was resolved at about 7.30pm yesterday. The disruption is likely to have a knock-on affect at some airports today but London's three main airports say their flights should run relatively smoothly.


BA says it's doing all it can

We are doing all we can to minimise disruption to our flights, but there will inevitably be a significant number of short-haul cancellations at some UK and European airports today.Customers are advised to check for latest flight information... Customers on cancelled flights will be able to claim a full refund or be rebooked on to alternative flights. Given that Heathrow is the world's busiest two-runway airport and Gatwick is the world's busiest single-runway airport, there will be problems for all airlines as a result of the ATC failures."

– British Airways spokesman


Contingency plans in place but a long wait for many

It's going to be a day of frustrations and the knock-on effects are going to last for the whole day...There are contingency plans in place whenever this happens. Many of the long-haul flights, coming from China, India, the US and so on, passengers sitting on those planes may find themselves diverted to continental airports. But it's going to be a long wait for them. When the system kicks back in and starts working, there will be a backlog of flights. For those waiting to fly out, it's going to be a case of sitting around the airport terminal until things get back to normal."

– Chris Yates, Independent aviation analyst

How our airports are affected

A technical glitch has caused major flight disruption Credit: Press Association

Heathrow - had cancelled 60 flights by 9.45am, with that figure split roughly equally between departures and arrivals.

Stansted - departing flights have been subject to delays of between 30 minutes and two hours.

London City Airport - about 50% of its flights have been disrupted.

Luton - inbound flights have been unaffected but outbound flights have been hit.

Gatwick - 20% of departures have been delayed, with passengers warned they could wait for "a couple of hours".

Unsure how long disruption will last

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) does not currently know how long it will take for the technical glitch - which is affecting thousands of people at airports including Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick - to be rectified.

Nats said the issue arose at its control centre in Hampshire, in the early hours of the morning when a computing glitch meant the night-time operation failed to properly switch over to the daytime system.

" We experienced a technical problem in the early hours of this morning, which means that it hasn't been possible to reconfigure the voice communications system to split out the sectors for the busier daytime traffic in some areas of the UK enroute airspace. Engineers are working to rectify the problem as soon as possible, but this is resulting in some delays. Safety has not been compromised at any time, and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience being caused to passengers."

– Nats spokesman
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