Northern Ireland family 'stuck on runway for three hours' at Dalaman Airport amid flight disruption

A family from Northern Ireland who are on holiday in Turkey have told UTV that they were stuck on the runway for "three hours" amid flight chaos caused by an air traffic control fault.

Emma Lloyd, a mum of two, was due to fly home from Dalaman on Monday.

Holidaymakers were hit by bank holiday travel delays, after a UK air traffic control failure meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers.

Around 790 flights departing UK airports were cancelled and 785 arriving flights, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. This equates to about 27% of all planned flights, it added.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats), the country's leading provider of air traffic control, said on Monday at 3.15pm that it had "identified and remedied" the technical issue affecting its systems and it was working with airlines and airports to support affected flights.

Emma Lloyd told UTV that it was clear something wasn't right, shortly after her family boarded the plane.

"Once we were sitting for a while on the plane the pilot made the announcement that there was problems with flights leaving the airport and going into the UK."

Emma explained that the flight was sitting on the runway for three hours.

Passenger were then told they may have to fly to Amsterdam and stay there overnight.

That didn't happen as all passengers were then taken off the plane and brought back into Dalaman Airport.

Ms Lloyd said there were issues around communication: "They didn't really update us very well in the airport.

"Everybody was sitting around and not getting many updates so there was a lot of people everywhere".

Emma and her family had no option but to sleep on wooden benches in the Airport till 4am.

They were then driven to a hotel almost two and a half hours away, only to be woken two hours after arriving to be told they needed to get back on the bus and return to the airport.

"There was no real point in going out to that hotel last night for the two hours," said Emma.

"It was such a long journey and a lot of angry, tired people and young children and there were some people in the airport that needed medicine and were without their luggage for quite a while as well."

Emma's children were due to start back at school on Tuesday but those plans have been scrapped, leaving both of them upset.

"It's upsetting, especially for the wee one, because it is a new class for him and a new teacher. He wanted to go for the first day, it is only a short day for them and he wanted to be with all his friends.

"So he is a bit upset that he didn't get on his first day and there are a lot of things to sort out when we get home tonight, just to get them ready for their first day in school tomorrow."

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