Heathrow Airport has said flights will remain “significantly impacted” after the collapse of Britain’s air traffic control system.

The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) was hit by a technical problem for several hours on bank holiday Monday, causing widespread disruption to flights in UK airspace which it said would continue for some time, although the problem has been fixed.

Previously, the air traffic control authority had to restrict air traffic when the automatic processing of flight plans stopped working, so that these had to be processed manually and this resulted in flight delays and cancellations.

Later, Heathrow, the busiest hub in Western Europe, announced that flight schedules would also be disrupted on Tuesday.

It tweeted: “The issue has been resolved but schedules remain significantly disrupted.” If you are traveling on August 29th, please be sure to contact your airline before traveling to the airport.”

NATS Operations Manager Juliet Kennedy said in a video posted to the site, “The issue was resolved this afternoon. However, it will take time for air traffic to return to normal and we will continue to work with airlines and airports to improve the situation.

“Our absolute priority is safety and we will investigate very thoroughly what happened today.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he is working with NATS to help it manage impacted flights and care for passengers.

Irish air navigation service provider AirNav Ireland previously said the issue was causing “significant delays to flights across Europe flying into, out of or through UK airspace”.

Tens of thousands of passengers were affected by the problems of delays and cancellations.

3,049 flights were expected to take off from UK airports and 3,054 to land on Monday, according to analysis by aeronautical analysis firm Cirium. This equates to more than 540,000 seats on departing aircraft and 543,000 seats on inbound aircraft.

As of 2:30 p.m., data showed that about 8% of all departures and about 9% of all arrivals were cancelled.

Source : www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

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