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HomeIrish Tech NewsFlight Fiasco: UK Tech Hurdle Resolved, But Countless Travelers Still Endure Hours...

Flight Fiasco: UK Tech Hurdle Resolved, But Countless Travelers Still Endure Hours of Delays at Airports


Flights in and out of Irish airports are experiencing delays and cancellations due to technical air traffic control problems in the UK that have hit flights across Europe.

Thousands of air travellers around the world faced delays on Monday after Britain’s air traffic control system was hit by a breakdown that slowed takeoffs and landings across the U.K. on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

More than three hours after it reported the “technical issue,” flight control operator National Air Traffic Services said it had “identified and remedied” the problem.

NATS said the outage had hit its ability to process flight plans automatically, meaning the plans had to be input manually, a much slower process.

The service said it had “applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety” but that U.K. airspace remained open.

Monday is a holiday for many in the U.K. and a date when many families return from vacations before the start of the school year.

After fixing the problem, NATS said it was “working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible. Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations.”

European air traffic authority Eurocontrol warned of “very high” delays, and airports both inside and outside the U.K. told passengers to expect waits and cancellations. Passengers scheduled to fly to Britain from European airports said they were being told to expect delays of several hours or more.

Irish air traffic control provider AirNav Ireland said the issue, which has struck during a public holiday in parts of Britain, was resulting in “significant delays for flights across Europe that are travelling to, from or through UK airspace”.

A spokesperson for London Heathrow, the busiest hub in western Europe, said the airport was working with NATS and other airport partners to minimise the impact on passengers, while Gatwick, south of London, said cancellations were likely.

Earlier Scottish airline Loganair said on social media site X, previously known as Twitter, that there had been a network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems.

British Airways said it was working closely with NATS to understand the impact, while other airlines including Ryanair said some flights to and from the UK would be delayed or cancelled.

Manchester Airport and London Stansted warned of potential disruption to flights, while others including London Luton and Birmingham said they were working to understand the impact and the timescale in which normal operations could resume.

Dublin Airport said the air traffic control issues were resulting in delays and cancellations to some flights into and out of the Irish capital.

Many passengers took to social media to say they were stuck on planes on the tarmac waiting to take off, or being held in airport buildings, in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Israel and elsewhere on what is a traditionally busy travel day as the school holidays draw to a close.

One Reuters witness who was held on the tarmac at Budapest for two hours before being taken off the plane said their pilot told passengers that they could face an 8-12 hour delay.

Dublin Airport, operated by the DAA, urged passengers to pay close attention to any online updates.

“Air Traffic Control issues in the UK today are resulting in delays and cancellations to some flights into and out of Dublin Airport,” a spokesperson said.

“We advise all passengers due to travel today to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travelling.”

Cork Airport is also experiencing some delays as a result of the issue.

A spokesperson said: “Air Traffic Control issues in the UK today are resulting in delays to some flights into and out of Cork Airport.

“We advise all passengers due to travel today to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travelling.”

A spokesperson for Ireland West Airport Knock said: “As a result of Air Traffic Control issues in the UK, passengers are advised to expect delays and disruption to some flights.

“Passengers due to travel today are advised to check the status of their flight with their respective airline in advance of travelling.”

Shannon Airport also released a statement on the matter today, it said: “Due to air traffic control technical issues in the UK today, some flights in and out of Shannon Airport will be affected.

“Passengers are advised to check their flight status directly with the airline in advance of travelling.”

Aer Lingus said due to this issue, “which is outside of its control”, there are “severe restrictions” on all flights into the UK and flying over UK airspace today.

“We would ask you to check the status of your flight before coming to the airport today as delays and cancellations are likely,” a spokesperson said.

“If your flight is cancelled, you will receive a further message from our team. Thank you for your co-operation and understanding.”

Ryanair said it “will be forced to delay/cancel a number of flights to/from the UK today” as a result of the issue, which it noted was beyond the airline’s control.

“All affected passengers will be notified of their options to change flights (free of charge) to another Ryanair flight or receive a full refund,” it added.

Speaking to RTE Radio One, Ireland’s Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers said: “There’s traffic flow restrictions have been introduced to maintain safety in the sky and it will have significant impacts on passengers flying in and out of Dublin, and there are multiple slot restrictions.

“So, we’d encourage customers to contact their airline for an update but it will have a major impact on Irish travel because, obviously, the nature and the proximity to UK space.

“There will be an impact and delays of several hours for many passengers and we’d encourage them to contact their airlines.”

When a flight is delayed or cancelled, airlines must offer affected passengers the choice between a full refund and a re-routing. Details are set out under EU Regulation 261/2014.

If a refund is chosen, the airline’s obligations end there and then. However, if a re-routing is chosen then passengers are entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation.

Deirdre O Meara
Deirdre O Mearahttp://toprated.ie
Deirdre brings to the table more than a decade and a half of rich journalistic experience, holding the dual role of a news reporter and the Deputy Editor at TopRated.ie. Her journalistic journey, spanning across some of the most respected news outlets in the UK and Ireland, has equipped her with a multifaceted perspective on reporting. Deirdre's expertise isn't confined to news alone; she indulges her passion for writing through her well-received columns on topics as varied as business, wedding features, entertainment, and product critiques.


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