Air traffic chaos as Hampshire control centre fails
Technical problems at the air traffic control centre in Swanick have caused delays and cancellations on flights across the UK and Ireland.
In a statement by The National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) at 12.30pm this afternoon, they estimated that the problem would take approximately six hours to resolve.
Affected airports include Heathrow, Stansted, Cardiff, Dublin and Glasgow.
A spokesman for NATS said: “We are currently experiencing some difficulty switching from night time to daytime operation.”
However NATS have reassured passengers that the problem is under control. “We now understand what the problem is and our engineers are working hard to rectify the issues as quickly as possible.”
Ryanair have significant flight delays and has been forced to cancel some flights.
British Airways said there have been “delays to some flights and significant short-haul cancellations”.
EasyJet are experiencing delays and “strongly advice” checking the flight tracker page for updates.
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services, controlling 75% of all UK air traffic, have stated the impact of the technical issues.“Normally by midday on a Saturday we would have handled about 2000 flights. Today we have handled somewhere in the region of 1,700- a reduction of about 20%”.
However “safety has not been compromised at any time”.
The problem involved the internal telephone system which has led to other problems.
A NATS’ spokesman said: “At night, when it’s quiet, sectors of airspace are combined. As it gets busier in the daytime the sectors are split out again and additional control positions are opened to meet the traffic demand.
“Because of the problem with the internal telephone system, it was not possible to open the additional control positions this morning, resulting in a significant reduction in capacity in some areas of UK en-route airspace”.