The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) of Britain shut down Monday, August 28, due to technical issues. The shutdown caused major problems for travelers on flights. The issue was resolved but the ramifications continued to reverberate throughout the system in Europe, impacting travelers trying to return from abroad as well as those departing.
The agency said their automatic flight plans processing system malfunctioned. This required them to manually input data and caused numerous delays and cancellations.
A statement made by video said the system was repaired. “It was fixed earlier on this afternoon. However, it will take some time for flights to return to normal, and we will continue to work with the airlines and the airports to recover the situation,” said NATS operations director, Juliet Kennedy, in a video on its website. “Our absolute priority is safety and we will be investigating very thoroughly what happened today.”
“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 U.K. 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,” the statement said.
A note on London Heathrow’s site said, “Schedules remain significantly disrupted. We ask passengers to only travel to the airport if their flight is confirmed as still operating. We are working as hard as we can to minimize the knock-on impacts and assist those who have been affected.”