A technical issue in air traffic control caused hundreds of flights to be delayed or canceled on Monday, disrupting travel plans for thousands of people.
The UK’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS) said it imposed a ban on aircraft radio transmissions on Monday morning due to the technical problem. The ban was lifted later in the day, but NATS said it was still experiencing “significant disruption” to air traffic.
A NATS spokesperson said engineers were working “tirelessly” to fix the problem. “We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing to passengers and airports,” the spokesperson said.
The technical issue affected flights at airports across the UK, including London Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton. Some flights were diverted to other airports, while others were canceled altogether.
Passengers who were affected by the delays and cancellations expressed their frustration on social media. “I’ve been stuck on a plane in Budapest for six hours,” one passenger tweeted. “No one knows when we’re going to be able to take off.”
Another passenger said they had been waiting at London Heathrow for six hours for their flight to be canceled. “This is a complete and utter shambles,” the passenger tweeted.
The technical issue also caused delays to flights to and from the UK from other countries. Dublin Airport said some flights from the Irish capital had been delayed or canceled due to the issue.
The technical issue is a major blow to the UK’s aviation industry, which is already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is hoping for a busy summer season, but the delays and cancellations caused by the technical issue could dampen demand for travel.
The technical issue is also a reminder of the importance of air traffic control. NATS is responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient movement of aircraft in UK airspace. The agency has a good safety record, but the technical issue shows that even the most advanced air traffic control systems are vulnerable to failure.
The cause of the technical issue is still under investigation. NATS said it is working with its suppliers to identify the problem and fix it.
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In the meantime, passengers who are planning to fly in the UK should check the status of their flights before they travel. They should also be prepared for delays and cancellations.
The impact of the technical issue on the UK’s aviation industry is still being assessed. However, it is clear that the issue has caused significant disruption to travel plans for thousands of people. The industry is hoping that the issue can be resolved quickly and that the summer season will not be too badly affected.