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Heathrow warns services will ‘remain significantly disrupted’ after UK air traffic control fault

todayAugust 29, 2023 6

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Heathrow warns services will ‘remain significantly disrupted’ after UK air traffic control fault

Heathrow Airport has said its services will “remain significantly disrupted” on Tuesday after air traffic controllers across the UK experienced a technical fault.

In a statement about the “technical issues” that affected the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Britain’s busiest airport urged passengers to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

“The issue has been resolved, however schedules remain significantly disrupted,” it said.

“If you are travelling on 29th August, please ensure you contact your airline before travelling to the airport.”

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London Gatwick has said it plans to operate a normal schedule on Tuesday following the disruption.

However, passengers have been advised to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.

London Stansted also said it planned to run a normal flight schedule on Tuesday, but added “our terminal may be busier than anticipated”.

And major UK airlines such as Tui and BA warned of “significant delays” for passengers amid changes to schedules.

By Monday afternoon 232 flights departing UK airports had been cancelled along with 271 arriving flights, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. It equates to about 8% of all expected departures and 9% of expected arrivals, Cirium added.

The technical fault meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers.

Read more:
What we know about system failure and how it’s affecting flights

What have airports said about the disruption?

While NATS has confirmed it has fixed the technical issue with the UK’s air traffic control system, airports have warned the disruption it has caused will continue. Here’s what some of them have said.

London Luton Airport: “Flights may be subject to delay or cancellation as a result of yesterday’s technical issues with Air Traffic Control systems across UK airspace. Please check with your airline for the latest status of your flight.”

Manchester Airport: “As a result of the nationwide technical problem experienced by NATS earlier today, there continues to be flight disruption, including delays and cancellations.”

Newcastle International Airport: “We understand that the technical issue with National Air Traffic Services is now resolved, but it will take some time for operations to get back to normal.”

London Stansted Airport expects to run a normal flight schedule on Tuesday 29 August, following the nationwide technical issue that affected air traffic control. “We do still advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport. As our airlines look to accommodate passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted over the past 24 hours, our terminal may be busier than anticipated.
Our teams will be working with our airlines and their handing agents to get you through the airport as smoothly as possible. Thank-you for your understanding.”

Heathrow Airport: We apologise for any inconvenience as a result of the NATS technical issues today. The issue has been resolved however schedules remain significantly disrupted. If you are travelling on 29th August, please ensure you contact your airline before travelling to the airport.

Gatwick Airport plans to operate a normal schedule on Tuesday 29 August following disruption today (28 August). Passengers are however advised to check the status of their flight with the airline before travelling to the airport.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on Monday that “despite resolving the technical issue behind today’s air traffic control issues, flights are still unfortunately affected”.

He said he would encourage all passengers to read the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s guidance and “be aware of their rights when flights are delayed or cancelled”.

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Technical issue ‘remedied’ but travellers face continued disruption

Earlier on Monday NATS said the “technical issue” affecting its flight planning system had been “identified and remedied”, but travellers continued to face disruption.

“We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible,” NATS said.

“Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations.

“The flight planning issue affected the system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which cannot be done at the same volume, hence the requirement for traffic flow restrictions.

“Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight.”

Written by: Newsroom

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