September 27, 2008

More Flights Cancelled After Knock-on Effect From Glitch

British Airways had to cancel more flights yesterday due to the knock-on effect of Thursday's air traffic control computer glitch.

At Birmingham International Airport, ten flights experienced minor delays caused by the glitch. Flights have since returned to normal service.

Aspokesman for the airport said: "We came off quite well compared to many other airports."

The axed flights were at Heathrow Airport and were confined to a small number of domestic and European short-haul routes.

But other airports which had suffered delays and cancellations due to Thursday afternoon's problem were back to normal yesterday.

BA had borne the brunt of the 35 flight cancellations from Heathrow on Thursday evening.

A BA spokesman said: "Some of our planes are in the wrong location due to cancellations, but the flights we've had to cancel are all on multi-frequency routes and we are not experiencing any delays to other services."

Luton and Cardiff were among the airports hit by the fault, which happened just before 4pm on Thursday at the main Swanwick control centre in Hampshire run by air traffic control company Nats.

A spokesman for Luton airport said yesterday: "We had to cancel nine flights but everything is back to normal today."

At Cardiff on Thursday passengers travelling to Belfast, Newcastle and Edinburgh saw their flights cancelled and others faced delays of up to two and a half hours.

The computer problem led Nats to restrict the number of planes entering UK airspace as well as those taking off from a number of major airports.

Airports affected included Gatwick, Stansted and London City.

Nats' operational performance director Ian Hall apologised to those affected and said safety had not been compromised at any stage.

He said: "We handle nearly 2.5 million flights a year and our systems are incredibly resilient. We take every step to avoid any problems but are always aware that in maintaining and updating highly complex systems we can experience difficulties."

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