Issues with UK Air Traffic Control Delaying Flights Across Europe
Air passengers across Europe are being warned of possible flight delays due to the effect of issues currently being experienced with the UK’s air traffic control system.
The first notice of the issue came at 12.10 UK time today, when NATS, the UK’s air traffic controller issued a statement saying:
We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety. Engineers are working to find and fix the fault. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
A further statement was issued thirty minutes later clarifying that UK airspace was not closed. It said:
We are continuing to work hard to resolve the technical issue. To clarify, UK airspace is not closed, we have had to apply air traffic flow restrictions which ensures we can maintain safety.
The most recent update was provided at 14.20 UK time and said:
This morning’s technical issue is affecting our ability to automatically process flight plans. Until our engineers have resolved this, flight plans are being input manually which means we cannot process them at the same volume, hence we have applied traffic flow restrictions. Our technical experts are looking at all possible solutions to rectify this as quickly as possible.
A statement on Twitter (X), from Irish-based European budget airline Ryanair, said that the air traffic control issue, which it described as a failure, is affecting all airlines operating in and out of the UK today.
The statement said:
Due to another UK ATC failure, Ryanair will be forced to delay/cancel a number of flights to and from the UK today, Mon 28 Aug.
We sincerely apologise for this UK ATC failure which is beyond Ryanair’s control and is affecting all airlines operating to and from the UK, today Mon 28 Aug.
Speaking to Sky News, travel expert Simon Calder said, ‘There is very little slack in the system. It’s going to be miserable. Meanwhile there are hundreds of planes up in the sky heading to the UK.’
He said the issue would not cause safety concerns as the system is designed to cope and aircraft carry contingency fuel supplies.
However, he said, ‘It will at the very least have caused enough disruption for the system to be in disarray for certainly until the end of the day and possibly for a few further days ahead.’
Passengers due to travel today are advised to check with their airline for updates.