Flights from Scotland have been hit with massive delays amidst a “failure” of air traffic control services.
Passengers are still facing cancelled or delayed flights across all Scottish airports including Aberdeen and Inverness.
Those flying from London to Scotland have been told to expect delays of up to 12 hours, lasting well into the early hours.
NATS, the country’s leading provider of air traffic control, said at 3.15pm that it had “identified and remedied” the technical issue affecting its systems and it was working with airlines and airports to support affected flights.
Major UK airlines such as Tui and BA have warned of “significant delays” for passengers amid changes to schedules.
The NATS statement added: “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.”
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Everything we know so far about air traffic control failure
- NATS says UK airspace is not closed but “restrictions” are in place.
- All airlines have been affected by the disruption.
- Engineers are currently working to find the fault.
- Airports have advised passengers to check with their airlines before arriving.
- Airlines are continuously revising departure times with some Scottish flights now pushed back as much as 12 hours.
- More cancellations are expected to be announced through the day.
How long will the air traffic delays last?
While the issue may have been resolved delays in aircraft movements still remain, with airports now trying to get through the backlog of flights.
It is understood some passengers had already boarded planes when the issue arose, forcing aircraft to wait on the ground while full.
A spokesperson for AGS Airports, which operates Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, said: “Air traffic control provider NATS is currently experiencing a technical issue across its UK-wide airspace network.
“It is anticipated that services operating to and from our airports will be impacted. We would ask passengers to check with their individual airlines for updates.”
“We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will provide further updates when we can.”
Easyjet flights have also been affected several to and from Inverness and Aberdeen delayed.
In a social media post, the airline wrote: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority and while these circumstances are outside of our control, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and to reassure customers that we are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the disruption.
National Air Traffic Services advises that the computer issue impacting flights across the UK today has been located and fixed.
We are taking every possible step to operate flights for the remainder of today, although, with a major backlog of flights at most UK airports.
— Loganair (@FlyLoganair) August 28, 2023
Loganair has warned there is expected to be disruption to its services throughout the day.
The airline said in a social media post: “National Air Traffic Services advises that the computer issue impacting flights across the UK today has been located and fixed.
“We are taking every possible step to operate flights for the remainder of today, although, with a major backlog of flights at most UK airports.
A spokesman for Hial which operates Inverness Airport and other smaller airport, said: “Inverness Airport like many other airports across the country has been affected by the issues with the national UK air traffic control system, with a number of flights experiencing delays.
“The airport team is working closely with our airline partners to manage the delays.”