Flights delayed at Heathrow after National Air Traffic Services experienced outage

Image above: Children waiting to board a flight at Heathrow; Heathrow Airport

Flights cancelled due to technical difficulties on one of the busiest travel days of the year

Heathrow airport warned on Monday (28 August) that there would be flight delays after the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) experienced an outage. Air traffic restrictions were applied across the UK and more than 500 flights were cancelled.

The August bank holiday Monday is one of the busiest travel days of the year. By the evening they were reporting the technical problem had been fixed but said schedules remained “significantly disrupted”.

“We ask passengers to only travel to the airport if their flight is confirmed as still operating” they said. “We are working as hard as we can to minimize the knock-on impacts and assist those who have been affected.”

Passengers were told to expect delays of up to 12 hours.

“We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible” NATS said.

The outage affected their flight planning system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which could not be done at the same volume.

“Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations” NATS said, “we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing.”

Sky News spoke to travellers frustrated by the delays, including one woman who was frantic to get home to her nine month old baby.

Stan Stawowiak, who was supposed to fly to Spain from Luton airport told them: “It’s been a long and chaotic day”.

British people stranded in France, including the woman trying to get back to her baby, told Sky it had been a “nightmare” trying to find an alternative route back home. One was told all flights for the next two days had been cancelled.

Heathrow Express also reported disruption on their service on Monday night. Putting the cherry on the cake for frazzled travellers, they put out a statement warning passengers:

“Services are delayed by up to 15 minutes or subject to cancellations due to trespassers on the railway.”

The service runs from London Heathrow and London Paddington, and both directions weren affected.

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