Make your home page

Air traffic control ‘failure’ hits UK airports

Passengers have been warned of delays after a technical problem hit the UK's air traffic control system. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

LONDON (CNN) — Air passengers across Europe faced potential delays on Monday after the UK’s air traffic control system suffered a “technical issue” resulting in restrictions on flights.

Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said that UK airspace would remain open while it tried to resolve the problem. “We have had to apply air traffic flow restrictions which ensures we can maintain safety,” it said in a statement issued at 1140 GMT (7:40 a.m ET).

Earlier, NATS urged passengers to check with airlines on the status of flights and said its engineers were “working hard to find and fix the fault.”

It comes amid a public holiday weekend in the UK and the final few days of the summer vacation, meaning many holidaymakers could be affected.

A spokesperson for London’s Heathrow Airport, one of Europe’s busiest aviation hubs, said it was “likely that schedules to all UK airports are affected.”

“Passengers who have a journey later today should check with their airlines directly.”

Gatwick Airport, south of London, reported “some delays” but said it was “not a major issue at the moment.”

Gatwick Head of Communications Bronwyn Huband told CNN the airport was trying to figure out what the technical issues meant for flights.

She said “some cancellations are likely” and the control tower was talking to the planes.

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport, in northern England, told CNN: “We are aware of a nationwide air traffic control issue that is affecting flights in and out of airports across the country. Manchester Airport is currently operating as normal but flights may be disrupted. Passengers should check their flight status with their airlines.”

Logan Air, a UK airline mainly serving Scotland, posted on social media that there had been a “network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems this morning.”

“Although we are hopeful of being able to operate most intra-Scotland flights on the basis of local coordination and with a minimum of disruption, north-south and international flights,” it tweeted.

Ireland’s air traffic control service provider AirNav has said that there were “significant delays” to flights traveling within UK airspace on Monday.

“Flights between Ireland and UK airports, and flights traveling to or from Ireland that travel through UK airspace are experiencing significant delays,” it said. “At this time, there is no certainty as to when flights will be back on schedule, so passengers who are due to travel today should contact their airlines in the first instance to check if their flights are delayed.”