UK travelers faced major disruptions on the bank holiday due to a technical glitch in the air traffic control system, which necessitated manual input of flight plans. The leading provider of the country’s air traffic control, National Air Traffic Services (Nats), confirmed by mid-afternoon that the issue was detected and rectified.
However, prominent UK carriers, including Tui and BA, cautioned passengers of major delays due to reshuffled flight timetables.
Nats conveyed their commitment to closely collaborate with airlines and airports to manage the affected flights optimally. The technical hiccup affected the system’s automated flight plan processing capabilities, compelling manual handling that couldn’t match the regular volume, thus resulting in traffic restrictions.
Despite the resolution of the technical challenge, a Heathrow Airport representative predicted significant disturbances for the day’s remaining flights.
On the same day, British Airways informed its passengers of a suspension in flight take-offs until the evening and temporarily closed all check-in desks.
Among the affected travelers, Lawrence Sinclair, 26, had to rebook his BA flight to Sweden after the initial one was canceled. Irene Franklin, 60, expressed her frustration when her Delta flight to Texas got abruptly canceled. Daniela Walther, 44, anticipated a delay of over eight hours for her BA flight to Germany.
Interestingly, a retired barrister stranded in Sardinia mentioned that an easyJet pilot hadn’t witnessed such an incident in his two-decade-long career. Gemma Saleh, 43, along with her family, faced prolonged delays on her flight, which was previously postponed from Sunday.
Monday’s travel data indicated that 3,049 departing flights and 3,054 incoming flights were slated across UK airports. This translates to a massive seat capacity of over 540,000 on outbound flights and 543,000 on inbound ones.
While passengers at Stansted Airport shared mixed feelings of relief and prolonged delays, Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed ministers were actively coordinating with Nats to handle the affected flights and assist passengers.
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, empathized with the travelers, acknowledging the inconveniences caused by the disruptions.