Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-1000 aircraft seen taxiing in front of the air traffic control tower at London Heathrow airport in U.K.
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The U.K.’s air traffic control provider said Monday that it had “identified and remedied” an earlier technical issue which saw flights across the country disrupted.
In a day update, the National Air Traffic Service said that it was now working with airlines and airports to administer the affected flights following warnings that passengers could face hours long delays.
“We’ve got identified and remedied the technical issue affecting our flight planning system this morning. We at the moment are working closely with airlines and airports to administer the flights affected as efficiently as possible,” NATS said in a statement issued at 3:15 p.m. London time.
“Our engineers might be fastidiously monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations,” it added.
NATS didn’t provide further details on the explanation for the difficulty or what flight restrictions remained in place.
It follows earlier announcements from the agency, wherein it said that a technical fault had disrupted its ability to routinely process flight plans and that air traffic control was as a substitute being handled manually.
“We’re currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to keep up safety,” NATS said in a statement issued at 12.10 p.m. “Engineers are working to search out and fix the fault.”
In an update issued at 2.20 p.m., NATS said that the fault remained unresolved and that air traffic control was being handled manually in the intervening time.
“This morning’s technical issue is affecting our ability to routinely process flight plans. Until our engineers have resolved this, flight plans are being input manually which suggests we cannot process them at the identical volume, hence we now have applied traffic flow restrictions,” it said.
Following the announcement that the glitch had been remedied, Edinburgh Airport said that “disruption to flight schedules remain.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said that flight schedules will remain “significantly disrupted” for the remainder of the day and urged passengers only travel to the airport if their flight is confirmed as still operating.
NATS first announced the disruption at 12.10 p.m. and clarified that “UK airspace shouldn’t be closed” following reports on social media site X, formerly often called Twitter.
The problem with air traffic control was announced earlier by Scottish airline Loganair, which said on X that there was a “network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems this morning.”
Passengers were warned that they might face severe delays. It comes throughout the U.K.’s busy bank holiday travel period, with many individuals getting back from summer holidays.
Gatwick Airport, London’s second-largest airport, said it was “seeing delays, and [flight] cancellations are likely,” while Luton Airport said the air traffic control issue was “affecting UK airspace, leading to disruption to flights.”
Meanwhile, Stansted Airport said it was “aware of a nationwide air traffic control issue that has effects on flights out and in of airports across the country.”
Flight tracking website Flightradar24 shared a picture on X of live air traffic data at 12:35 p.m. London time.
In an accompanying statement, it said that U.K. airports, including Heathrow, seem like “significantly limiting departures,” although arrivals proceed. It added that every one of its most tracked flights are currently London arrivals.