Further flight delays expected after fault

File picture of planes at Heathrow. Picture: PA
File picture of planes at Heathrow. Picture: PA
A Ryanair plane. Picture: Wiki Commons (labelled for reuse)

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FLIGHT passengers face further hold-ups to journeys this weekend after a power failure sparked major delays at UK airports.

Planes were halted after a technical fault was found in a flight system at the National Air Traffic Services (Nats) control centre, in Swanwick, near Fareham.

The issue resulted in flights to and from London and Southampton being held up.

The problem, which happened yesterday afternoon, was seen to by Nats’ incident response team and repaired later in the day.

While Nats has declared its systems are back to full operational capacity, there are expected to be knock-on effects this weekend with airports expecting delays.

A statement from Nats said: ‘Nats can confirm that a technical problem was reported at Swanwick air traffic control centre.

‘We apologise for any delays and our incident response team was mobilised.

‘Every possible action was taken to assist in resolving the situation and to confirm the details.’

By 6pm, flights had started to move again with many of the grounded flights able to take off.

At Southampton Airport, a number of flights were delayed including flights to Glasgow and arrivals from Manchester, Dublin and Newcastle.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We did have delays in the early evening but we soon got planes moving.

‘Delayed flights were quickly sorted and passengers were booked in.

‘We were able to get the flights ordered and only one inbound and one outbound plane were cancelled.’

Ten airports reported they had delays, with flights not being able to land

Leeds Bradford Airport had all outbound and inbound flights suspended until 7pm.

The Nats centre in Swanwick opened in 2002 and controls 200,000 square miles of airspace above England and Wales.

It handles around 5,000 flights every 24 hours.

But in the 12 years since its opening, the centre has had previous technical problems.

These include computer faults halting flights in 2008 and problems with internal phone calls holding up planes in December last year.

Southampton Football Club were also delayed for a short time.

They were due to fly out ahead of their Barclays Premier League game against Burnley today.

In a statement on its website, British Airways said: ‘While the system is slowly recovering, we anticipate the knock-on effects to take some time to 
resolve.

‘Additional staff have been brought in to assist our customers and we have booked a large number of hotel rooms to accommodate those who have been disrupted.’