UK Air Traffic Control System Meltdown August 28, 2023

The airlines flying to/from the UK and Ireland and those utilizing their airspace faced headwinds on Monday due to a complete system meltdown at the UK NATS that controls the airspace.

NATS has published an update that the issue has been resolved, but there will be significant changes and delays on flights due to depart and land at various UK airports for the rest of the day due to crews and planes being out of their usual rotations.

NATS’ Latest Announcement:

Air Traffic Control system update

28 August 2023

Statement at 15:15 UK time

We have identified and remedied the technical issue affecting our flight planning system this morning.  We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible.  Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations.

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.  Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight.

Compensation:

If you are flying on EU/EEA/UK-based airlines, you are covered by EC 261/2004 and UK261 when it comes to lodging and food expenses due to the delay, and all airlines if you were departing from EU/EEA/UK.

They must also rebook you to the final destinations at the earliest opportunity, even if this means moving you to one of their competitors.

Conclusion

Most flights affected are those of British Airways, which no longer allows airport personnel to rebook affected passengers but need to call their internal rebooking line, which is likely too busy to take calls.

This meltdown will affect BA’s long-haul and some short-haul flights tomorrow, and perhaps even on Wednesday, due to airplanes and crews not being where they should be.


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