Holidaymakers are facing days of travel chaos after a technical fault with the UK’s air traffic control system left hundreds of thousands of airline passengers stranded or delayed.
The outage on one of the busiest days of the year left traffic controllers inputting flight paths manually after their digital systems went down in a “network-wide” computer failure.
An estimated 1,200 flights to and from the UK were cancelled, according to The Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder, while thousands more were delayed.
National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said at 3:15pm that it had “identified and remedied” the technical issue, but later warned the ensuing disruption could last further into the week. Nats also said the failure would be investigated “very thoroughly”.
Around one million passengers had been due to fly to and from the UK on the Monday bank holiday, figures suggests – with many facing delays of up to 12 hours.
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Air traffic control failure causes chaos at UK airports
Technical issue ‘identified and remedied’, National Air Traffic Services says
More than 500 flights cancelled so far...
... As one million passengers booked onto UK flights today
Bank holiday flight cancellations top 1,200 – with 200,000 passengers stranded
21:45 , Stephanie Cockroft
In the worst single day’s disruption to UK flying since the Icelandic volcano in 2010, an estimated 200,000 passengers will be waking up on Tuesday morning where they did not intend to be, Simon Calder writes.
On one of the busiest days of the year for travellers, the UK air-traffic control system failed for several hours – grounding more than 1,200 flights, and delaying thousands more.
The Independent has calculated the figures using information from the aviation data service Flightradar24.
50,000 passengers hit by Gatwick cancellations alone - Simon Calder
21:27 , Stephanie Cockroft
At least 300 flights have been cancelled to and from the UK’s second-busiest airport, London Gatwick, as a result of Monday’s air-traffic control failure.
The Independent has identified more than 200 cancellations on easyJet alone, including many longer flights to destinations including Egypt, Turkey and Cyprus.
British Airways has grounded around 30 flights to and from Gatwick, including multiple flights to the Canary Islands and Turkey.
Vueling, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Norwegian and TAP Portugal also cancelled flights.
Londoner Julian Eccles has lost half of his four-day trip to central Italy and Lake Garda. His easyJet flight from Gatwick to Ancona was cancelled and he had to book with TUI to Verona on Wednesday morning instead.
British journalist faces being stuck in France for up to six days
21:02 , Andy Gregory
A British journalist who faces being stuck in France for up to six days due to the technical issue affecting air traffic control systems said there is uncertainty over who will pay for the extended stay.
Rory Dollard, 40, cricket correspondent at PA Media, said he and other passengers stuck at Bergerac Dordogne Perigord Airport have heard “absolutely nothing” about what caused the technical fault, which led to his Ryanair flight not taking off.
He added that he was told it may take up to six days before he and his family - wife Joanne, 40, and children Emily, 10, and Arthur, eight - can return home to Skipton, North Yorkshire.
He said: “I’ve never been in a situation like this before and because of the language barrier, it’s hard to work out exactly who’s responsible for which part of the cost.
“If you need to find a hotel for the next five/six nights, who’s paying for this? Is it Ryanair? Is it your insurer? Is it somebody else?”
He added that he could miss covering three England matches, while his wife, who is a social worker, could face delays to “important cases”.
‘Beyond fed up’: Family stuck in Rome until Wednesday
20:38 , Andy Gregory
Gemma Breslaw, her husband and their two children – aged four and five – had been told they were facing “awful” delays of 12 hours at the airport in Rome, where they witnessed “lots of angry people shouting at the staff”.
However, they were eventually told their flight was cancelled hours after their planned take-off time.
Despite having found a hotel in Rome, the family were unable to find a flight to take them back to Gatwick until 7am on Wednesday. Describing herself as “beyond fed up and annoyed”, she told The Independent: “Who wants that flight with two little kids?!”
But she joked that she would try to enjoy Rome from their Marriot Park hotel while her husband “moans about [missing] work”.
‘Some time’ before flights return to normal, warns NATS
20:15 , Andy Gregory
National Air Traffic Services’ operations director Juliet Kennedy has issued a new video statement.
She said: “First of all, I’d like to apologise for the impact on people’s travel plans today. The issue we had earlier meant that our automatic system which provides controllers with details of every aircraft and its route wasn’t working. Instead, to manage safety, we had to limit the number of flights we could manage.
“Our teams worked hard to resolve the problem and I’m pleased to say it was fixed earlier on this afternoon. However it will take some time for flights to return to normal. And we will continue to work with the airlines and the airports to recover the situation.
“Our absolute priority is safety and we will be investigating very thoroughly what happened today.”
A message from our Operations Director about today’s disruption. pic.twitter.com/C4LWX7VyM8
— NATS (@NATS) August 28, 2023
Surrey GP stuck in France with no replacement flight for three days
19:54 , Andy Gregory
David Hill, a 61 year old GP in Surrey, and his wife had been staying with friends in the south of France for a weekend break, and he had been set to fly home from Nice at 7:45pm in order to be back for appointments with his patients at 8:30am until 7pm on Tuesday.
But as the chaos unfolded, the Hills were faced with hours of uncertainty. As their departure time changed initially to 6am on Tuesday, they booked a hotel for the night – but were told shortly afterwards that their flight had been changed again to 2am, before it was again shifted to 4:30am.
Eventually, their flight was cancelled, with no replacements available until Thursday and EasyJet saying they were unable to help them find a hotel, Mr Hill told The Independent.
BA has cancelled more than 150 flights from Heathrow
19:29 , Simon Calder
The Independent has calculated from the British Airways website that BA has cancelled more than 150 flights from its main base, London Heathrow.
At least three transatlantic flights have been grounded: to Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Among domestic and European destinations, the routes with the most cancellations linked Heathrow with: Amsterdam, Athens, Edinburgh, Milan, Nice and Paris.
BA says all customers travelling today and tomorrow can rebook flights for later date
19:02 , Andy Gregory
British Airways has said that any customers due to travel today or tomorrow can move their flights to a later date free of charge, subject to availability.
The airline said in a statement: “Like all airlines using UK airspace, our flights have been severely disrupted as a result of a major issue experienced by NATS Air Traffic Control on Monday 28 August. While NATS has now resolved the issue, it has created significant and unavoidable delays and cancellations.
“If you are due to fly with us on Monday 28 August, please do not travel to the airport without checking the status of your flight, as it may no longer be operating. You can do this by visiting Manage My Booking and checking your email inbox.
“If you are at the airport waiting to board your flight, please continue to check flight information boards and your email for further updates.
“Any customers due to travel on Monday 28 August or Tuesday 29 August can move their flights free of charge to a later date, subject to availability. We are also rebooking customers onto alternative airlines where possible and have stood up additional colleagues in our call centres to assist our customers.”
Man confronted with prospect of 12-hour delays after being mugged on holiday
18:35 , Andy Gregory
David Miller, a 47-year-old, had been especially keen to get home to Chester having been mugged on holiday in Barcelona – only to find himself facing 12-hour delays upon arriving at the airport.
While the captain of their British Airways flight ordered passengers to embark anyway in the hope of securing an earlier departure slot, he had warned those onboard to brace for a delay of at least four hours, despite being told that some of the NATS systems had been brought back online.
While he was expected back at work on Tuesday, Mr Miller told The Independent that if his flight landed too late, he would be forced to stay overnight at Heathrow.
Mr Miller praised the pilot for keeping passengers well updated, and sounded unperturbed by the wait himself as he joked: “Everyone’s jovial, the air con’s on.”
Stranded German couple consider taking train from London to Stuttgart
18:22 , Andy Gregory
A German couple are considering returning home by train after their flight from London to Stuttgart was cancelled as a result of the UK’s air traffic control chaos.
“We are waiting for any information and checking if we can go back by train or anything, I don’t know. Somehow we have to get back home,” said Myria Mebold, 36.
Asked if BA was helpful she replied: “No, they didn’t know anything at all. They said the system doesn’t work and they can’t give any information and we have to come back at 6pm and maybe then they can give more information.
“It was a nice day in London but now it is starting to get annoying.”
She said the flight had been delayed to leave the UK after 1am on Tuesday, but planes cannot land at Stuttgart during the night.
My flight from a UK or EU airport is cancelled. What can I expect?
18:09 , Simon Calder
Whatever the cause of a cancellation, and regardless of the amount of notice that is given, you can insist upon replacement transport: the airline must get you to your destination as soon as possible if that is what you want. The UK Civil Aviation Authority says that means that, if a flight is available on the original day of travel, the passenger must be booked on it – even if it is on a rival carrier.
You are entitled to “re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity”.
The term “re-routing” is unhelpful, since it implies finding a different route to the destination. On a link such as Manchester-Dublin or Barcelona-Gatwick, with around a dozen flights a day on multiple airlines, there may be no need to change the route.
If you are flown to a different arrival airport, the airline must also meet reasonable onward travel costs. If you are flown to Luton rather than Gatwick, you could claim the £38 train fare but not a £150 taxi (unless you are in a party of four).
On occasion a train (eg Eurostar from Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris to London) or even a rental car may be more appropriate.
You have two further options. The first is an alternative flight at a time to suit you in the future – though the cancelling airline can reasonably require you to travel on one of its services. The other is a full refund, including any return segment if it is on the same ticket.
Flights still affected despite resolution of technical issue, transport secretary acknowledges
17:59 , Andy Gregory
Transport secretary Mark Harper has acknowledged that, despite the technical issue being resolved, “flights are still unfortunately affected”.
Despite @NATS resolving the technical issue behind today’s air traffic control issues, flights are still unfortunately affected.
I’d encourage all passengers to read @UK_CAA’s guidance & be aware of their rights when flights are delayed or cancelled 👇 https://t.co/K4coeXbUCX
— Mark Harper (@Mark_J_Harper) August 28, 2023
What to do if your UK flight has been delayed today
17:30 , Andy Gregory
Your airline has to let you choose between a refund or an alternative flight if your flight is covered by UK law, regardless of when the cancellation is announced.
You are also entitled to refreshments if you’re stuck at the airport for a prolonged amount of time.
My colleague Rachel Flynn has more details here:
Flights at Heathrow to remain ‘significantly disrupted'
17:16 , Andy Gregory
Flights will remain “significantly disrupted” for the rest of Monday despite the technical issue with air traffic control being resolved, a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said.
They said: “We ask passengers to only travel to the airport if their flight is confirmed as still operating.
“Teams across Heathrow are working as hard as they can to minimise the knock-on impacts and assist those whose journeys have been affected.”
Watch: What is happening with the bank holiday flight disruption?
17:04 , Andy Gregory
What happens next if my airline says it can’t deliver an alternative flight today?
16:56 , Simon Calder
If the cancelling carrier does not carry out its duty, obliging you to make your own arrangements, then you can expect reasonable costs to be refunded.
That means booking the cheapest alternative ticket possible, staying in a budget hotel if there is one, etc. You must keep all your receipts, of course.
If the alternative travel is expensive (eg only business class is available) you will need to be able to show evidence of that, perhaps with screenshots.
Caught in the air-traffic control nightmare? Your rights when flights go wrong
16:55 , Andy Gregory
Hundreds of thousands of passengers booked to travel to or from the UK have had their flights cancelled or delayed after the air-traffic control system was hit by a technical issue.
Here, The Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder explains what you can do if you are caught up in the chaos:
11-year-old boy ‘over the moon’ as pilot on grounded plane gives him tour of cockpit
16:54 , Andy Gregory
With planes grounded, pilots have been keeping families entertained on the tarmac by giving children tours of the cockpit while they wait for news of a possible departure.
Gwen Magarotto told The Independent that her son Spencer and his family were forced to “sit it out” on the tarmac at Corfu after their flight to Exeter was delayed.
But for her 11-year-old grandson Danny, who “adores planes”, the experience became the “highlight of his holiday” after the “kind” pilot allowed him to sit in the plane’s cockpit while explaining what all of the various dials and mechanisms were.
Ms Margarotto said her grandson had been “over the moon”, but was soon left “freezing” once their plane finally touched down back in Exeter following their holiday in the Greek sun.
An ‘absolute nightmare’: F1 fans ‘stranded in Schiphol Airport'
16:46 , Andy Gregory
Ashleigh Blaney, a 34-year-old finance assistant from Glasgow had been in Amsterdam watching the Dutch Grand Prix with her brother, both of whom are now “currently stranded in Schiphol Airport”.
While they had been due to fly to Glasgow at 1:45pm, they were notified eventually at 3pm that their EasyJet flight had been cancelled.
Ms Blaney told The Independent that they had been queueing for over an hour in border control in an attempt to exit the airport, and that no one could tell them where they could pick up their checked-in luggage, describing the situation as an “absolute nightmare”.
While they have managed to rebook their flight tomorrow, it will arrive in Edinburgh instead – and there are no hotels available on the EasyJet app, Ms Blaney said.
Her brother, who had been due to fly to Gran Canaria at 6am tomorrow, will no longer be able to make his trip.
‘A happy travel story’: Gabby Logan ‘boarded and heading home’
16:34 , Andy Gregory
Broadcaster Gabby Logan, who earlier said she was facing possible delays of 12 hours, has now announced that she is “boarded and heading home”, adding: “We are very lucky to be flying home tonight.”
A happy travel story; we are boarded and heading home.
Credit where it’s due @British_Airways you have been so fantastic with your communication and updates and our crew have been brilliant on this flight. We are very lucky to be flying home tonight. 🙏🏻
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 28, 2023
The presenter revealed previously that she was stuck on the runway at Budapest having been away from home for three weeks.
On a plane on the runway at Budapest airport. After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 28, 2023
However, a fellow passenger on the flight – who said they had been planning “exotic rail journeys across Europe to get us back to the UK” while stuck in the terminal – has written to The Independent to say: “Don’t hold your breath” for take-off.
BA tells passengers no flights will take off until 6pm
16:28 , Andy Gregory
British Airways told passengers on Monday afternoon that no flights would take off until 6pm and all check-in desks were closed.
Lawrence Sinclair, 26, who works for a holiday company, said he had to book on to a new BA flight to Gothenburg in Sweden, which leaves at 8.50pm, after his earlier flight was cancelled.
He said: “I don’t know if the later flight is going to go or not. I was supposed to go at 3.50pm. Hopefully I will fly at 8.50pm but that is going to be delayed, isn’t it. It’s annoying, I’m going to see my girlfriend in Sweden, but if I don’t go today I’ll go tomorrow.”
A diary of disruption
16:25 , Simon Calder
Cass Helstrip, managing director of White Tiger PR was booked to depart from Biarritz to London Stansted at 4.20pm today with her husband and four-year-old. This is how her day unfolded:
1pm: We caught the bus from San Sebastián to Biarritz airport and arrived. Sat down and reading emails only to see an alert re all airspace being shut in UK. Nothing on Ryanair app or at airport.
1.30pm: Husband Al started Googling news and seeing that planes being delayed / cancelled. I was refreshing Ryanair app constantly – nothing. Panicking!
1.50pm: Al noticed Ryanair website reporting flights being cancelled due to ATC – still nothing on Ryanair app.
2.30pm: Get first notification through on app which is that flights are cancelled. Suggests changing flight but app not working properly so unable to change flight.
2.40pm: I am trying to speak to Ryanair on chat to change flight urgently seeing everyone else around me panicking and trying to book new flights. Ryanair chat crashes and can’t get hold of anyone anymore.
2.42pm: Husband realised hotel prices going through roof so books cosmopolitan hotel for £180 – other people who booked 10 mins after us couldn’t get anything for less than £300.
2.45pm: Lady has spoken to Ryanair and says because of backlog of flights flight that we are likely to be able to reschedule to will be delayed / cancelled.
2.50pm: Refresh app and now it’s working to ‘change flights’ but now all flights are full for Tuesday. We panic and realise we will need to train and the trains will likely fill as well. We book trains from Biarritz to Paris (£350) at 10am tomorrow morning and then book Eurostar – website crashes as well and price goes up an extra £170 based on demand. We pay £550 for Eurostar tickets for tomorrow at 16.15 for 2 adults and 1 x four year old.
3pm: Email alert comes through from Ryanair saying flight is delayed till 17.50 – causes mass confusion and everyone panics having paid hundreds of pounds to book alternate flights etc.
3.15 Email comes through saying flight is cancelled. We sit in dismay for a bit deciding safest to wait a little longer before leaving. Leave airport at 15.45 and now at hotel.
Suella Braverman offers sympathies to those facing disruption
16:20 , Andy Gregory
Home secretary Suella Braverman has offered her sympathy with anyone impacted by the air traffic control problems.
“This issue is evolving right now, as we speak,” she told broadcasters. “What we do know is that there has been a national outage at national air traffic control and that this has affected UK air space.
“It will affect all incoming and outgoing flights and also those aircraft which are in the UK air space right now.
“I am very cognisant that this will disrupt people’s travel plans – those who are waiting to arrive in the UK, those waiting to depart, and I do sympathise with any disruption they may be experiencing.”
BA urges short-haul passengers not to travel to airport without checking flight
16:05 , Andy Gregory
British Airways has urged short-hall passengers not to travel to the airport without checking whether their flight has been cancelled, as the airline warned of “significant change” to its schedule.
In a statement, BA said: “Like all airlines using UK airspace, our flights are being severely disrupted my a major issue affected NATS Air Traffic Control.
“As a result, we have had to make a significant change to our schedule today. If you are travelling on a short-haul service today, Monday August 28, please do not travel to the airport without checking the status of your flight, as it may no longer be operating.”
Breaking: Technical issue ‘identified and remedied’, National Air Traffic Services says
15:57 , Andy Gregory
National Air Traffic Services (Nats) has “identified and remedied” the technical issue which has caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled, the company has announced.
“We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible,” the company said in a statement. “Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations.
“The flight planning issue affected the system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which cannot be done at the same volume, hence the requirement for traffic flow restrictions.
“Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight.”
More than 500 flights to and from UK cancelled so far
15:33 , Simon Calder
As engineers work to fix the air-traffic control system failure, the scale of the travel chaos is becoming apparent.
The aviation analyst Cirium says 232 flights have been cancelled departing UK airports so far today, equivalent to around 8 per cent of all departures.
Inbound to the UK, 271 flights have been cancelled arriving into UK airports – equivalent to around 9 per cent of arrivals.
Those numbers are certain to increase as delays extend – leading to pilots and cabin crew running “out of hours” in which they are able to fly.
Tui warns of ‘significant delays'
15:25 , Andy Gregory
Tui has warned of “significant delays” due to the air traffic control outage.
In a reply to a passenger asking if their flight on Tuesday morning is likely to be delayed, Tui posted on Twitter/X, saying: “Due to an air traffic control outage across UK airports, we expect that this may cause significant delays to some of our flights.
“We would like to advise customers to monitor the departure boards or your emails for further updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
UK airspace ‘remains open’, says transport secretary
15:17 , Andy Gregory
Our political correspondent Archie Mitchell reports:
The transport secretary has said UK airspace “remains open” but restrictions are in place.
Mark Harper said: “UK airspace remains open but traffic flow restrictions are in place. NATS is working at pace to fix this and Aviation Minister Charlotte Vere and I are doing all we can to support them.
“In the meantime, passengers should contact their airline for up to date flight information.”
UK airspace remains open but traffic flow restrictions are in place.@NATS is working at pace to fix this and Aviation Minister @CharlotteV and I are doing all we can to support them.
In the meantime, passengers should contact their airline for up to date flight information. https://t.co/RxqPhicsbK
— Mark Harper (@Mark_J_Harper) August 28, 2023
One million passengers booked on UK flights today
15:02 , Andy Gregory
According to the aviation analyst Cirium, a total of 6,103 flights were due to arrive or depart from UK airports today – with a combined capacity of 1,083,000 seats.
While not every flight will be sold out, loads on such a key day for departures and arrivals are expected to be extremely heavy.
It is likely, therefore, that one million passengers are booked to arrive or depart. Many of them are families returning from holidays in the Mediterranean or beyond – and many more will be expected back at work after the bank holiday weekend.
14:58 , Simon Calder
A well-placed airline source says that Nats, the air-traffic provider, has identified the problem and that a fix may be put in place soon. Even if the issue is immediately solved, the disruption so far to schedules means long delays and cancellations will continue for the rest of the day.
With so little slack in the system – especially for flights returning from the Mediterranean – some travellers could find their journey home cannot take place for days.
UK fault having ‘major’ knock-on in Ireland, minister warns
14:56 , Andy Gregory
Irish transport minister Jack Chambers has warned of a “major” knock-on impact on flights to and from Ireland as a consequence of the UK air traffic control fault.
“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,” Mr Chambers told RTE Radio One.
“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.”
Technical fault means flight plans being input manually, says Nats
14:52 , Andy Gregory
The technical fault is affecting Nats’ ability to automatically process flight plans, the air traffic control services provider has said in its latest statement.
“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,” the company said.
“Our technical experts are looking at all possible solutions to rectify this as quickly as possible.
“Our priority is ensuring every flight in the UK remains safe and doing everything we can to minimise the impact. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight. We are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing.”
Pilot warned passengers situation is ‘unprecedented’, journalist says
14:47 , Andy Gregory
A journalist caught up in the delays in Palma hoping to fly to Gatwick says passengers have been told by the pilot that this is “an unprecedented situation”.
“Three hours later and still on the tarmac after our flight was delayed due to ‘air traffic control issues’ affecting the UK. Pilot told us this is an unprecedented situation and something he’s never seen before,” said Georgia Ziebart, a producer at Sky News.
Now being moved off the plane back into the terminal, after running out of hot food onboard - @easyJet insisting flight still isn’t cancelled.
Staff saying the airport is in chaos due to the number of flights delayed.
— Georgia Ziebart (@GeorgiaaZiebart) August 28, 2023
Heathrow: cancellations and long delays
14:43 , Simon Calder
Dozens of cancellations are now under way at London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport.
European airlines flying from nearby cities were first to instigate cancellations of flights due to arrive at Heathrow on Monday afternoon.
Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings have grounded flights from Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Air France and its partner KLM have axed departures from Paris and Amsterdam respectively to Heathrow.
British Airways has started to cancel long- and short-haul flights. The Independent understands that European links to Copenhagen, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris and Prague have been grounded, along with transatlantic flights to Chicago and Philadelphia.
Dozens more flights have been apparently rescheduled to the early hours of Tuesday morning, when Heathrow does not normally have any departures.
Flight delays ‘extremely concerning for passengers’, says Labour
14:39 , Andy Gregory
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said news of delays to flights in and out of the UK was “extremely concerning” for air passengers.
Extremely concerning for passengers travelling in and out of the UK on one of the busiest days of the year.
UK airspace is not closed but significant delays expected thanks to a technical fault.
Surprised not to see our Transport Secretary make a statement yet. https://t.co/yzfcjoV0ma
— Louise Haigh (@LouHaigh) August 28, 2023
Rishi Sunak urged to convene Cobra meeting over air traffic control fault
14:37 , Andy Gregory
Rishi Sunak has been urged to convene a Cobra meeting after a technical fault hit air traffic control in the UK.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: “Rishi Sunak and his ministers need to get a grip on this issue urgently and hold a Cobra meeting.
“Millions of holidaymakers could be facing huge disruption in the coming days due to this fault and we can’t risk this Government being missing in action yet again.
“Brits need to know that the government is doing all it can to make sure people aren’t hit with major delays and disruptions in the coming days.”
Ryanair cancelling flights in and out of Dublin
14:35 , Sam Rkaina
Ryanair and Aer Lingus have cancelled a number of flights out of and returning to Dublin Airport as a result of air traffic control issues in the UK.
Services are also understood to be impacted at Cork.
The Aer Lingus airline said: “Due to a failure of the UK air traffic control flight planning systems, which is outside of Aer Lingus’ 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.”
Ryanair said: “Due to another UK ATC failure, Ryanair will be forced to delay/cancel a number of flights to/from the UK today, Aug 28.
“All affected passengers will be notified of their options to change flights (free of charge) to another Ryanair flight or receive a full refund.
“We sincerely apologise for this UK ATC failure which is beyond Ryanair’s control and is affecting all airlines operating to/from the UK.”
Shannon Airport said the forced restriction of aircraft flow has resulted in the cancellation of the outbound (FR1182) and inbound (FR1183) Ryanair Gatwick service.
A spokesperson for Shannon Airport has advised all passengers due to travel from Shannon to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travelling.
UK airspace is not closed, NATS says
13:19 , Rachel Flynn
The National Air Traffic Service confirmed in a statement that the UK airspace is not closed, despite reporting a “technical issue.”
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.
“Engineers are working to find and fix the fault. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Flights to Gatwick delayed overnight amid flight chaos
13:12 , Rachel Flynn
Flights travelling into Gatwick have been delayed overnight as UK travel chaos continues.
A flight from Olbia, Italy to Gatwick was originally due to set off at 9pm this evening but has since been delayed to depart just after 3am.
One lady took to Twitter to ask the flight provider, Easyjet, if she would be receiving accommodation for her and her two young children.
Over three thousand flights due to depart UK airports today, one of the busiest days of the year
13:05 , Rachel Flynn
On one of the busiest days for UK airports this year, 3,049 flights are due to depart UK airports today, according to Cirium, the aviation analytics company, with a further 3,054 flights scheduled to arrive in the UK.
Holiday goers are advised to presume their flight today is still going ahead, despite warnings of major delays.
A British Airways flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh due to set off at 7:15 pm has been delayed by over seven hours, with no indication of when the technical issue will be fixed.
Gabby Logan among those affected
13:01 , Sam Rkaina
Sports presenter Gabby Logan is among those caught up in the chaos.
Tweeting around noon on Monday, she wrote: “On a plane on the runway at Budapest airport.
“After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.”
Like many other passengers Ms Logan is now facing long delays before reaching her destination.
It’s allowing traffic in there’s already airborne but nothing else to take off.
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 28, 2023
Now regretting my decision to miss breakfast.
— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 28, 2023
Airlines warning of network wide failure
12:53 , Sam Rkaina
Airline Loganair warned customers they may experience delays as a “network-wide failure” has affected air-traffic control systems on Monday morning.
The Glasgow-based airline posted on X, formerly Twitter: “There has 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 co-ordination and with a minimum of disruption, north-south and international flights maybe subject to delays.
“If you are flying with us today, please check our website for the latest information about your flight before setting off for the airport.”
“Technical issue” is to blame
12:53 , Sam Rkaina
National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it is experiencing a “technical issue” and has applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety.
It said in a statement: “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.”
Planes gather at Heathrow and Gatwick as air traffic control failure hits UK
12:50 , Sam Rkaina
Hundreds of thousands of airline passengers faced potential delays and cancellations on Bank Holiday Monday, one of the busiest days of the year.
Aircraft on the ground were being held and planes already in the air were likely to be diverted to other airports in Europe.