According to a report by the BBC, NATS has stated that a ‘technical issue’ has affected the organisation’s ability to automatically process flight plans’, but that its ‘technical experts are looking at all possible solutions to rectify this as quickly as possible’.
While UK airspace is still nominally open, a NATS spokesperson added that: “Until our engineers have resolved this, flight plans are being input manually, which means we cannot process them at the same volume, hence we have applied traffic flow restrictions.
The organisation also recommended that travellers should consult their airline for information on how their flight might be affected.
Passengers have reportedly been told to expect delays of up to 12 hours due to the disruption.
The incident comes at one of the busiest times of the year for UK airports – in addition to occurring during the peak summer season, the 28th August is also a public holiday in parts of the UK.
According to data by Cirium, 3,054 flights were scheduled to arrive in the UK today, with another 3,049 departing. This equates to over a million seats booked.
A similar flight disruption occurred in the US in January of this year, when the Federal Aviation Administation’s Notice to Air Missions system failed due to a corrupted file – causing over 7,300 delays and over 1,100 flight cancellations.