Air traffic control across the UK is currently experiencing an issue with the systems ‘technical issue’, which has led to airlines warning of delays and disruptions to flight services.
UK air traffic control technical issue
In a recent statement, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) have said: “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.”
As the situation continues to develop, at least one national airline has taken to social media, with regional carrier Loganair characterising the problem as a networkwide issue:
“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 may be 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.” the airline said in a post moments ago.
The national system failure is reported to be related to flight data processing.
Europe’s air navigation organisation Eurocontrol has acknowledged that the United Kingdom is currently experiencing a “flight data processing system failure”, saying:
“Currently there is no indication of when a solution for the failure will be available so no improvements for flights entering UK airspace are foreseen in the near future.”
UPDATE 12:55 BST
NATS have provided a further update/clarification advising that airspace is not officially closed, but ATC traffic restrictions are currently being enacted:
“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.”
Aviation data analytics firm Cirium has revealed the number of scheduled flights to and from the UK for today:
Monday 28 August: 3,049 flights were due to depart UK airports – equating to over 540,000 seats
A further 3,054 flights were scheduled to arrive into UK airports today – equating to an additional 543,000 seats.
Bank Holiday Weekend
With respect to timing, the ATC outage has perhaps struck at one of the worst possible times, with flight traffic numbers swelling due to the Bank Holiday long weekend.
This Bank Holiday weekend: (Friday 25 August – Monday 28 August), 11,839 flights were scheduled to depart UK airports – equating to over 2.1 million seats.
Across the weekend, departure numbers were 10% higher than the August Bank Holiday in 2022, and up 83% compared to 2021, showing a spike in outbound flights. Scheduled departures across the weekend were also set to reach 90% of 2019 levels
UPDATE 15:15 BST
NATS have now issued an updated statement advising that they have now rectified the technical issue, and are liaising with airlines and airports to manage affected flights.
Passengers have been advised to contact their airline for specific details on flights.
Did you know AviationSource has two newsletters? One covers the general news and analysis of the industry as a whole, and the other to do with emergencies that take place throughout the year! To subscribe to our General News Newsletter, CLICK HERE! To subscribe to our Emergencies, Accidents & Incidents Newsletter, CLICK HERE!
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.