Technical glitch delays flights

11 July 2013 09:08

Facilities are demonstrated at the Nats centre in Hampshire

Facilities are demonstrated at the Nats centre in Hampshire

Technical problems at an air traffic control centre led to delays for some air passengers on Tuesday.

Nats, based in Swanwick, near Southampton, was forced to restrict the number of aircraft flying across the south of England because of the issue.

Although Nats said it had now identified and corrected the technical problem, setbacks such as this highlight the importance of having travel insurance before you fly.

The company experienced computer glitches that affected flights when it first moved to the Hampshire site about 10 years ago, but the centre has worked well in recent years.

A Nats spokesperson said the "technical problems" at the Swanwick control centre on Tuesday had "not resulted in the closure of UK airspace or the suspension of all flights in or out of the UK".

The spokesperson said Nats had on Tuesday restricted the number of aircraft flying across the south of England and those taking off from airports in order to "maintain safety", adding that "our first priority will always be the safety of the flying public".

Heathrow experienced only minimal delays, as services heading south from the airport were the only flights affected, while at Gatwick only flights heading for Jersey were hit.

The traffic control issue affected all flights to and from Southampton Airport, according to an airport spokesperson. Passengers were advised to check with their airline for up to date information on Tuesday.

The Nats spokesperson apologised to passengers for any inconvenience caused and later said outbound delays were generally limited to 20 minutes.

The company worked with airports, airlines and Europe-wide organisation Eurocontrol to clear the backlog of flights to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.

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