The UK is suffering a major disruption to air travel due to unspecific “technical issues” affecting flight control computer systems. Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) says it has “applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety,” with several airlines reporting disruptions felt at airports across the world. Hundreds of flights in and out of the UK have been delayed, according to The Guardian, with delays of up to 12 hours reported.
Despite the disruption, NATS says that UK airspace is not currently closed (as of 12:40PM UK time) during this very heavily traveled bank holiday Monday. NATS provided no indication for when the issue might be resolved.
The NATS released an updated statement at 2:20PM local UK time that provides more detail on the current situation, but still without a timeline for resolution:
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.
Several airlines are reporting issues as a result of the system failure. According to Sky News, British Airways said it was “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.”
Scottish airline Loganair issued a statement to customers, calling it a “network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems.”
Update August 28th, 9:34AM ET: Added new statement from NATS.