A UK computer failure has left London-area airports scrambling to deal with flight delays.
A computer failure at the United Kingdom’s air traffic control center has led to widespread delays across London and surrounding areas. The center said it encountered a “technical problem” that has left many airports with delays and other flight disruptions.
According to BBC:
Reported problems around the country include:
- Heathrow: Flights are “currently experiencing delays” but planes now landing and taking off
- Gatwick: Flights are now departing but still subject to delays
- Stansted: Flights still landing, no flights departing
- Bristol: Limited departures reported
- Luton: All flights experiencing delays but planes now leaving
- Edinburgh: No queues but passengers being advised to check with their airlines
- Southampton: Experiencing ”problems”
- Oxford: Experiencing “some delays”, mainly to services arriving from overseas
- Leeds Bradford: All flights out and most flights in suspended until 1900
- Aberdeen: Reported an “impact” on operations
One source has said that the problem was caused by when a flight planning tool malfunctioned. The flight planning tool essentially works to coordinate the flights as they arrive in London, putting them in a sequence for takeoff and landing.
Many passengers were complaining about the delays. One passenger was sitting on a Ryanair flight for over an hour with the airplane door open, with passengers complaining of cold air entering the cabin. Other passengers said they were stuck circling the area. Manchester airport said that it was not impacted by the malfunction and that it was prepared to accept diverted flights.
This is not the first issue with UK’s flight control center, having had problems last summer as well as in December 2013.