Flight delays and cancellations across the UK due to “technical issues with air traffic control” have left thousands stranded in airports while the National Air Traffic Services works to rectify the situation. Major airports like Gatwick, Stansted and London Heathrow have all been affected by the computer glitch that was first reported in the early hours of the morning.
The trouble began in Swanwick in Hampshire where the NATS control centre is based. It was created by a glitch that occurred when the night-time system failed to switch over to the daytime one. The system consulates the airspace for the night when there are less flights and then opens it up for the daytime.
As a result, London Heathrow cancelled 60 flights, split evenly between arrivals and departures. A spokesmen for the airport said: “Due to a technical issue with air traffic control, flights from many UK airports, including Heathrow, are subject to delay and cancellation.”
The general warning for anyone flying today is that they should check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport. Unfortunately at this time the fault remains unresolved as a NATS spokesman confirmed: “Due to a technical problem at Swanwick we are currently experiencing some difficulty switching from night-time to daytime operation.”
The news that we have at this time is that London Stansted flights are delayed between 30 minutes and two hours. Around 20% of flights at London Gatwick are delayed by “a couple of hours”. London City Airport is reporting that half their scheduled flights are experiencing delays, and London Luton is reporting that only outbound flights have been disrupted. Airports in Dublin, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Manchester and Bristol are also reporting delays to their flights.
Frustrated holiday makers have been taking to twitter to vent their frustrations at the cancellations and delays, but the latest news from NATS suggest that the problem will be fixed this afternoon.