The UK’s air traffic control system has been hit by a ‘huge network failure’ on one of the busiest days of the year – causing chaos for tens of thousands of holidaymakers that could last days.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it is experiencing ‘technical issues’ that have forced controllers to reduce the rate that aircraft are able to land and take off.
This has led to hundreds of flights being delayed both in and out of the UK. Britons returning from Tenerife told MailOnline they had been told to expect a wait of at least 12 hours.
Travel expert Simon Calder said the system issue had forced air traffic controllers to switch from a digital system to one that has to be operated ‘more manually’. He said this would cause ‘misery’ but added that holidaymakers should ‘assume’ their flight was operating normally unless they were told otherwise.
Contagion from the issue has already spread across Europe, causing delays for some flights leaving the Continent for the USA.
TV presenter Gabby Logan said she has been left stranded on the runway at Budapest Airport while returning from the World Athletics Championships. She wrote: ‘After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.’
NATS did not provide any further information about what caused it or how long it would take for UK airspace to return to normal.