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December 12, 2014

UK airspace closed following ATC computer failure

Problem reported at Swanwick air traffic control centre; severe delays expected.

By Ellie Burns

Chaos is expected across UK airports today, following the cancellation of all flights due to a ‘technical failure’ of air traffic control computers.

The cause of the failure has been confirmed by NATS, the national air traffic control body, in a statement on their website:

‘NATS can confirm that a technical problem has been reported at Swanwick air traffic control centre. We apologise for any delays and our incident response team has been mobilised."

"Every possible action is being taken to assist in resolving the situation and to confirm the details."

A spokesperson from Heathrow commented: "There is a technical problem at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, which is affecting UK airspace. Flights are currently experiencing delays and we will update passengers as soon as we have more information."

People have taken to Twitter to try and explain the ‘technical failure’, with many referring to a ‘power outage’. Delayed passengers, including those waiting to take-off and those waiting to land, are voicing their frustration on Twitter as they await further information.

Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, took to twitter and warned of ‘potentially severe #flightdelay’, branding the ATC problem a ‘computer failure’.

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At the time of writing, there has been no indication as to when the ATC systems will be back up and running.



The technical failure has reportedly been resolved, with NATS releasing the following statement: ‘Following a technical failure at Swanwick, the system has been restored and we are in the process of returning to normal operations."

"We apologise for any delays and the inconvenience this may have caused."


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