500 flights canceled as UK air traffic control system suffers ‘nightmare scenario’

London — Thousands of travelers faced flight delays and uncertainty on Monday, as the UK’s air traffic control system suffered technical problems leading to the cancellation of at least 500 flights in and out of British airports.

Britain’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS) said in a statement to CBS News that a technical issue restricted the flow of aircraft into and out of the United Kingdom on Monday, at the end of a long weekend and one of the UK’s busiest holidays. A year for travel, amid reports of widespread delays in flights to London from popular holiday destinations.

BBC News reported that more than 230 flights Departure from the UK has been cancelled, as well as at least 271 flights scheduled to arrive in the UK.

Passengers line up at Gatwick Airport as electronic passport gates malfunction across the United Kingdom on May 27, 2023 in Crawley, England.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A NATS spokesperson said: “We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have implemented traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety. Engineers are working to find and fix the bug.”

Scottish airline Logan Air earlier said on social media that there had been a network-wide failure in the UK’s air traffic control computer systems and warned that international flights could be affected.

CBS News producer Emmett Lyons said he was stuck on the runway on the Spanish island of Majorca, and the pilot on his return flight to the UK told all passengers they were being held indefinitely due to a major problem with air traffic control in the country. United kingdom

Talking to BBCAlistair Rosenshine, aviation consultant and former Boeing 747 pilot for British Airways, said it appeared the entire air traffic control system had broken down across the UK. He said the similar situation for vehicular traffic would be if every road in the country were closed. .

“The disruptions are huge and customers are all over the world [will] “They should be put in hotels if the delay is too long,” he added. “It’s quite a nightmare scenario, really.”

more than 6,000 trips The entry and exit from the UK was scheduled for Monday, according to the BBC.

Michelle Robson, a former air traffic control worker, said technical issues like this usually “only last a couple of hours”, making Monday’s shutdown “extraordinary”.

“No one really knows at this point how long it will take,” she told BBC News.

“There was a flight planning system failure this morning which affected both hubs in the UK,” Robson said as she waited for a flight from the small British island of Jersey to London.

“It seems there was what they call a ‘zero price’, where that meant no aircraft could fly inland to the UK, or perhaps abroad. They would generally be trying to land things that were already in the UK air.”

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