Thousands of passengers faced flight delays and uncertainty on Monday 28 August 2023 as the United Kingdom’s air traffic control system was disrupted by technical issues, forcing the cancellation of at least 500 flights into and out of British airports.
In a statement to CBS News, Britain’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS) said that a technical issue had forced restrictions on the flow of aircraft into and out of the country on Monday, the end of a long weekend and one of the busiest travel days of the year, amid reports of widespread flight delays into London from popular vacation destinations.
Here is a tweet about the Thousands of travelers faced flight delays and uncertainty Monday as the U.K.’s air traffic control system was hit by technical problems that resulted in the cancellation of at least 500 flights.
Thousands of travelers faced flight delays and uncertainty Monday as the U.K.'s air traffic control system was hit by technical problems that resulted in the cancellation of at least 500 flights. https://t.co/2LUl6O10nX
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 28, 2023
NATS later stated that it had “identified and remedied” the technical issue and was “now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the affected flights as efficiently as possible.” The government did not specify when regular service will be reinstated.
According to BBC News, more than 230 flights leaving the United Kingdom were canceled on Monday, as were at least 271 planes arriving in the United Kingdom.
Loganair, a Scottish airline, had earlier announced on social media that there had been a network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems, warning that foreign flights could be affected.
CBS News producer Emmet Lyons said he was stuck on a runway in Majorca, Spain, and the pilot on his flight back to the United Kingdom told all passengers they were being held for an indefinite period owing to a significant issue with air traffic management in the United Kingdom.
An aviation consultant and former British Airways Boeing 747 pilot, the entire air traffic control system in the United Kingdom appears to have failed. He stated that a similar situation for vehicular traffic would be if every route in the country was closed.
“The disruptions are massive, and customers all over the world will be forced to stay in hotels if the delay is particularly long,” he continued. “It’s a bit of a nightmare scenario, really.”
According to the BBC, over 6,000 planes were scheduled to arrive and depart from the United Kingdom on Monday.
Why Are Flights Cancelled Today?
A retired air traffic controller, technological glitches like this often “only last a couple of hours,” making Monday’s suspension “unusual.” “Nobody really knows how long it’s going to take at this point,” she told BBC News.
“There was a flight planning system failure this morning, which affected both centers in the U.K.,” Robson explained as she waited for a flight from the small British island of Jersey to London.
“It appears that a ‘zero rate’ has been imposed, which means that no aircraft can take off inbound or outbound to the United Kingdom.” It was usually them attempting to land things that were already in the air.”
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