More than a quarter of UK flights were canceled yesterday. Photo: DANIEL LEAL/AFP (Getty Images)
The UK was in turmoil yesterday, and not for the usual reasons like the fallout from Brexit and inept politicians. Instead, it was struggling to deal with an enormous outage of its air traffic control system, which resulted in the cancellation of more than a quarter of flights into and out of the country. Now, experts warn that the effects of the outage could be felt for days.
The chaos started on Monday (August 28th) during a national holiday in the country. A fault with the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) left 790 departing flights and 785 incoming flights forced to cancel, the BBC reports. This accounted for roughly 27 percent of the day’s total flight in and out of the country.
Waiting, /arriving/, /departing/? Photo: DANIEL LEAL/AFP (Getty Images)
But what causes an outage like this? Well, here in the U.S. a computer issue caused similarly widespread chaos at airports at the start of 2023. In the UK, experts are remaining tight lipped. However, they have confirmed that the outage was unlikely to have been caused by a cyber attack.
But that will be of little consolation to the travelers who were caught up in hours-long delays at airports like Heathrow and Gatwick in London, as well as Manchester in the north of England. The BBC reports:
Katrina Harrison and her family - including one-year-old twin grandchildren - spent the night at Leeds Bradford Airport after their flight to Antalya was canceled on Monday afternoon.
Ms Harrison, from Stockton-on-Tees, told the PA news agency they were given a bottle of water, a KitKat and a packet of crisps and all the shops sold out of food and drink on Monday night.
Heathrow Airport in London was one of the worst affected. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg (Getty Images)
Passengers reported being handed out blankets to sleep in airport lounges, and another traveler the BBC spoke with said they were told it would take six days for them to get a new flight home from France to the UK.
Flights across the country are still being canceled today, but airlines including budget carrier Ryanair said normal services should start resuming from tomorrow (August 30th).
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