UK air traffic control systems experiences ‘technical issues’ causing disruption to airports and passengers
Thousands of passengers have been suffering long delays and cancellations after a ‘technical issue’ hit UK air traffic control systems.
Thousands of air passengers have been suffering long delays after a 'technical issue' hit UK air traffic control systems.
Thousands of passengers, and many airlines/airports, have been suffering long delays and cancellations after a ‘technical issue’ hit UK air traffic control systems, around midday on Monday 28 August, 2023.
About 500 flights were cancelled, and others delayed for hours before NATS, the national airspace controllers, announced that at 15:15 it had ‘identified and remedied’ the issue that arose almost four hours earlier.
In a video posted on NATS’ X page, Juliet Kennedy, NATS’ Operations Director, stated that ‘the issue we had…meant that our automatic systems, which provides controllers with details of every aircraft and its route, wasn’t working. Instead, to manage safety, we had to limit the number of flights we could manage. Our teams worked hard to fix the problem…and it was fixed.’ The video concluded with Kennedy’s assurances that NATS was doing all they can to mitigate disruptions and formally apologised to the travelling public.
A message from our Operations Director about today’s disruption. pic.twitter.com/C4LWX7VyM8
— NATS (@NATS) August 28, 2023
According to Cirium’s latest figures published on 30 August 2023, at 09:00.** Criuium found that:
- 799 flights were cancelled departing UK airports– equivalent to around 27% of all departures
- 786 flights were cancelled arriving into UK airports – equivalent to around 27% of all arrivals
- Heathrow saw the highest number of cancellations, followed by Gatwick and Manchester.
- 182 flights were cancelled departing UK airports yesterday – equivalent to around 6% of all departures
- 163 flights were cancelled arriving into UK airports yesterday – equivalent to around 6% of all arrivals
- Heathrow saw the highest number of cancellations, followed by Manchester and Gatwick.
30 August (as of 09:00):
- 30 flights have been cancelled departing UK airports so far – equivalent to around 1% of all departures
- 34 flights have been cancelled arriving into UK airports so far – equivalent to around 1% of all arrivals
- Heathrow has seen the highest number of cancellations, followed by Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Consequently, returning holidaymakers and those departing faced cancellations and delays of up to 12 hours after take offs and inbound flights were suspended. Several UK airports and airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and TUI were hit by delays and cancellations.
There have been warnings that some knock-on disruptions could last for days. As of 29 August, even though the issue had been resolved, schedules were still affected at dozens of airports. Some airlines have been issuing warnings, and many are advising to ‘check before you travel.’
UK Civil Aviation Authority statement on NATS
Rob Bishton, Interim-Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said:
“We understand the challenges many consumers continue to experience when flights are delayed or cancelled following yesterday’s technical issue that impacted National Air Traffic Services (NATS) flight planning system. Passengers who continue to be impacted can find information about what they are entitled to on our website. In the event of delays or cancellations, passengers will be expected to be provided with food and drink as well as accommodation if delayed overnight.
“As part of our regulatory oversight of its activities, we continue to engage with NATS and once its investigation is fully complete, an incident report will be provided to the UK Civil Aviation Authority. The report’s outcomes will then be shared with the Secretary of State for Transport.
** based on flight schedules following airline updates on 30 August 2023
To stay up-to-date on this story, please visit this news; UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch independent review of NATS technical failure.