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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


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