Air traffic control system for London restored, but delays expected
- NEW: Air traffic control system for London airspace restored after technical failure
- NEW: “We are in the process of returning to normal operations,” NATS says
- Eurocontrol says all London airspace is closed because of a computer failure
- Delays are likely to hit many passengers traveling for the weekend
(CNN) — The air traffic control system controlling London airspace has been restored after a technical failure, the UK-based global air traffic management company NATS said Friday.
“We are in the process of returning to normal operations. We apologise for any delays and the inconvenience this may have caused,” it said.
“Further information will be released as it becomes available.”
NATS said a short time before that London airspace was open but that traffic was being restricted in line with the capacity in the system.
Travelers passing through London can expect to experience delays or disruption to their flights.
“All flights that are supposed to fly London from Charles de Gaulle are delayed,” a spokesperson for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport told CNN.
“Flights from Tunisia will be landing at Charles de Gaulle instead of London.”
British Airways offered refunds or the chance to rebook to any of its passengers not wishing to travel Friday in light of the problems.
“We anticipate disruption to both departing and arriving flights but will do all we can to minimise any impact,” it said in a statement.
The European air traffic control network, Eurocontrol, earlier said all London airspace was closed because of a computer failure, and that no flights would be accepted in or out of London until 7 p.m. (2 p.m. ET.)
The issue affected the air traffic control center in Swanwick, which controls all air traffic routes in southern England and Wales, up to approximately Manchester. A second air traffic control center at Prestwick in Scotland takes over air routes from there. It has not been affected, NATS said.
The issue has affected London’s Heathrow Airport, the third-busiest airport in the world, as well as Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City airports, which all serve the capital, as well as airports elsewhere in southern England and Wales.
Thousands of travelers heading into or out of the British capital for the weekend are likely to be delayed, as well as those on flights connecting through London airports.