Thousands of airline passengers in the UK and abroad faced significant delays and cancellations on Monday after a technical fault in the UK air traffic control system caused widespread disruption.
The National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the country’s leading provider of air traffic control services, said it had applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety following a technical issue that affected its flight data processing system. The problem was identified and remedied by 3.15pm, but the impact on flights lasted for several hours afterwards.
According to flight tracking sites, planes were delayed from about 11.30am on Monday, the last day of the summer bank holiday in the UK. About 500 flights were cancelled and others delayed for up to 12 hours.
The outage affected all major UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Passengers reported being left in limbo with travel plans wrecked and check-in desks closed, while airlines were unable to confirm if their flights would leave.