UK airspace 'network-wide failure' fixed after Brits stranded by 500 cancelled flights – but effects could last DAYS | The Sun

A NETWORK-WIDE airspace failure that stranded thousands of Brits when 500 flights were cancelled has finally been fixed – but the effects could last DAYS.

Brit travellers faced faced major disrupts when the air traffic control system was brought to a halt due to "technical issues" – affecting airports up and down the country.

Fuming passengers were told this morning that the network was down and that their flights would be delayed for hours – with many shocked as they sat on the planes waiting to take off.

Many Brits had been flying back to the UK after their Bank Holiday weekend getaways – stuck for hours as they waited for the flights to resume.

TV presenter Gabby Logan was among those caught up in the problems at Heathrow.

She said: "On a plane on the runway at Budapest airport. After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family.


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"And I have just been told that the UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait."

Thousands of holidaymakers were bracing to face up to 12 hours of delays following the fault.

But about 4pm, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it had “identified and remedied” the technical issue which was affecting air traffic control systems.

In an updated statement, NATS said: "We have identified and remedied the technical issue affecting our flight planning system this morning.

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"We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible.

"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."

British Airways told passengers on Monday afternoon that no flights would take off until 6pm and all check-in desks were closed.

However, the backlog of flights could bring days of problems for those looking to jet off this week – while those hoping to return from Bank Holiday weekend holidays were left stranded.

According to The Sun's travel editor, the issue "could not have come at a worse time" and disruption will likely continue into the week.

Lisa Minot said: "This is actually the busiest weekend since October 2019.

"The fact that it has gone on for so long means this is going to definitely start to impact flights all the way into next week.

"It's going to impact flights across the globe. I'm already seeing flights that were due to be landing here into the UK from places now not showing up until 7am or 8am tomorrow morning, and that's if they actually go ahead."

It's understood issues first arose around 8.30am today.

Not all flights were grounded with NATS only putting "traffic flow restrictions" in place.

Although no exact cause has yet been given for the outage, a potential hack by a foreign power has not yet been ruled out.

NATS said this morning: "We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety.

"Engineers are working to find and the fix the fault.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

"To clarify, UK airspace is not closed, we have had to apply air traffic flow restrictions which ensures we can maintain safety."

They added: "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.

"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."


One fed up holidaymaker previously said: "Not Ryanair sitting us on the flight and then telling us there are problems with the UK systems so we aren’t setting off til 6.45pm? It’s 11.50am."

Another moaned: "Sat on the tarmac at Ibiza Airport and there are issues with UK air traffic control according to pilot.

"Delay unknown at present!"

Daniela Walther, 44, was supposed to leave Heathrow for Stuttgart, Germany, on a BA flight at 5.25pm but it will now leave later than 1am.

She said staff have been helpful but it "took a while to find someone to talk to".

Daniela said: "I know it's going to be long but on the other hand I don't dare to leave because I don't want to miss information, and I don't know if I don't get it on my phone."

Posting online, an easyJet passenger wrote: "Just informed by easyJet that my flight tonight is likely to be delayed by nearly 7 hours.

"Manchester to Prague. Apparently air traffic control system issue."

BA passengers were also facing huge delays, with one saying: "Yet more fabulous work from British Airways, currently being told that we will be sat on the tarmac for 7 hours in Milan!"

TV presenter Gabby Logan was also caught up in the problems.

She said: "On a plane on the runway at Budapest airport. After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family.

"And I have just been told that the UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait."

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."

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."

One passenger trying to get back to the UK from Albania was told the flight will be grounded for three hours.

Morag was asking for "good travel vibes" as she sat on her delayed plane.

Posting on Twitter, she said: "Please send all the good travel vibes my way.

"We literally boarded the plane just as this IT issues brought down the whole U.K. airspace network.

"Currently have been advised could be a 3 hour delay sitting on this plane. Maybe I won’t be leaving Albania today."

Another fuming woman said her daughter had been stuck at Palma airport since yesterday afternoon.

Tracey Foster said: "My daughter is currently stuck at Palma airport [and has been] since yesterday afternoon.

"Jet2 finally put them on a bus only to now be taken off the bus & nobody is there to answer any questions, a complete shambles."

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: "I sympathise with any disruption passengers may be experiencing."

According to the latest data, 3,049 flights were due to leave the UK today with 540,000 customers seated.

And a further 3,054 flights were scheduled to arrive into UK airports on Monday bringing in an additional 543,000 passengers.

As of 2.30pm, Cirium data revealed 232 flights planning to leave the country had been cancelled.

And 271 flights entering were also not taking off.


Statements from some of the UK's airline giants were issued as engineers scrambled to bring an end to the mayhem.

EasyJet said they were working with authorities to get the issue solved.

A spokesperson said earlier: "We have been advised of an Air Traffic Control issue currently affecting all flights due to fly into and out of United Kingdom airspace.

"We are working with the relevant authorities to understand the impact of this issue and the timescale for normal operations to resume."

Jet2 added: "UK Air Traffic Control are reporting a significant failure of their systems resulting in significant delays to all flights departing and returning to the UK.

"Further update to follow as soon as we have more information."

A British Airways spokesperson said: "We are working closely with NATS to understand the impact of a technical issue that is affecting UK airspace, and will keep our customers up to date with the latest information."

Ryanair's travel advice read: "Air traffic across the UK is experiencing significant disruptions today due to ATC equipment failure.

"Ryanair regrets any inconvenience caused to passengers by this disruption, which is outside of Ryanair’s control."

It's a complete shambles

Tui warned of "significant delays" due to the outage.

In a reply to a passenger asking if their flight on Tuesday morning is likely to be delayed, Tui posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, 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."

Scottish airline Loganair also posted a statement on Twitter.

They said: "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 coordination 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."

Luton, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool airports are all experiencing problems.

A spokesperson for Luton Airport said: "An Air Traffic Control issue is affecting UK airspace, resulting in disruption to flights.

"We're working with the relevant authorities to understand the impact and the timescale for normal operations to resume.

"Please check with your airline for the latest status of your flight."

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.

Birmingham Airport officials said: "We're working to understand the impacts of a UK-wide air traffic control failure, and timescales for it to be fixed.

"Customers due in or out of BHX are advised to monitor latest information from their airlines, live flight data on our website & on screens in our terminal."

Liverpool John Lennon said travellers would board their flights on time but would likely be delayed on the runway.

A spokesperson said this morning: "There is currently a UK-wide air traffic control flight planning system failure, which engineers are working to remedy.

"Whilst aircraft will be loaded on time, some flights may be subject to a delay.

"This is out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport's control, but we will keep you updated as things change.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Manchester Airport tweeted: "We are aware of a nationwide air traffic control issue that is affecting flights in and out of airports across the country.

"This may cause disruption to some flights at Manchester Airport.

"Please check the status of your flight with your airline and arrive at the airport at the time they advise.

"We will provide further updates as soon as possible."

Heathrow advised all passengers to contact their airline for the most up to date travel advice.

London Gatwick and London Stansted were previously reporting that they were fully operational but were hit with delays on Monday afternoon.

Irish minister of state for transport 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.

He said: "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.

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"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."

What are my rights if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

Under UK law, airlines have to provide compensation if your flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late.

If you're flying to or from the UK, your airline must let you choose a refund or an alternative flight.

You will be able to get your money back for the part of your ticket that you haven't used yet.

So if you booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded.

But if travelling is essential, then your airline has to find you an alternative flight. This could even be with another airline.

When am I not entitled to compensation?

The airline doesn't have to give you a refund if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond their control, such as extreme weather.

Disruptions caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control employee strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.

Some airlines may stretch the definition of the "extraordinary circumstances" but you can challenge them through the aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Can I get a refund if my connecting flight is cancelled?

If you missed your connecting flight because your first flight was delayed, you are entitled to a flight back to your original departure point.

Once you decide to take a refund or to travel later than the first available flight, your airline has no obligation to provide you with food, drink or accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday and you decide not to travel on your outbound flight, you may lose your holiday too, we recommend you contact your package organiser or the airline for further information.

Will my insurance cover me if my flight is cancelled?

If you can't claim compensation directly through the airline, your travel insurance may refund you.

Policies vary so you should check the small print, but a delay of eight to 12 hours will normally mean you qualify for some money from your insurer.

Remember to get written confirmation of your delay from the airport as your insurer will need proof.

If your flight is cancelled entirely, you're unlikely to be covered by your insurance.

How can I find out if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

The best way to check if your flights are cancelled are to find to the website of the airport you are flying out of to find your flight number.

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