Air traffic controllers to monitor 8,800 flights today as school exodus begins

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TODAY is set to be the busiest day for air traffic controllers as a record-breaking 8,800 flights will jet off.

The record number will mark the school exodus with millions of schoolchildren departing for their annual summer holidays.

Air traffic controllers at Swanwick-based NATS are expecting more than 770,000 flights during the course of the summer, which is an increase of 40,000 on last year.

The rise comes with UK airports experiencing significant growth.

Jamie Hutchinson, director at NATS’ Swanwick air traffic control centre – which handles traffic over England and Wales said: ‘We work very closely with our airline and airport customers in the run-up to the summer to ensure we have the right planning and resources in place to get people away safely for a well-earned holiday.

‘It is our busiest time of the year and traffic growth is outpacing forecasts year-on-year.’

Airline traffic has seen a shift away from destinations such as Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia in favour of Spain, Italy and America, which has resulted in major changes in the flow of traffic and demand is set to hit new levels.