UK ATC systems' technical issue causes flight disruption

Posted on 29 August, 2023 by Advance 

As a result of a technical issue, UK air traffic control services provider NATS applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety, resulting in a network-wide outage of Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems in the UK, with airlines experiencing delays and consequently causing considerable disruption for passengers.

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NATS were working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible. Its engineers were carefully monitoring the system’s performance as operations are returned to normal.

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.

In a statement, NATS said  its priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and that they were sincerely sorry for the disruption being caused.
Following yesterday’s ATC disruption, industry analysts Cirium revealed the true scale of cancellations:

790 flights were cancelled departing UK airports yesterday – equivalent to around 27% of all departures

785 flights were cancelled arriving into UK airports yesterday – equivalent to around 27% of all arrivals

Heathrow saw the highest number of cancellations, followed by Gatwick and Manchester