A failure in a key system at Europe’s air navigation safety authority has caused widespread flight delays across the continent and UK.
Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation said around half of all flights travelling across Europe might be delayed as a result of the failure of its “enhanced tactical flow management system” on Tuesday, The Guardian reported.
According to the paper, the air management system links air traffic control centres across Europe, and work to restore its malfunction would take several hours.
Heathrow said it had been largely unaffected by the delays, but London City Airport services had been significantly impacted.
Meanwhile, travellers flying through the UK have been warned to brace for extra delays as the country’s air traffic controls introduce a new digital air traffic information system from Wednesday.
According to the BBC, the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) says it can "no longer deal with the demand" of using paper strips to record instructions passed to pilots, a system it has used for 40 years.
NATS says air traffic in south-east England would be reduced as controllers get used to the new system, BBC reported.
"It's very difficult to predict exactly what that delay will be - there are many other factors like the weather and industrial action in France,” Nats' Pete Dawson said.
"Broadly speaking, as a rough rule of thumb, we anticipate that where aircraft are delayed - going into Heathrow, for example - the average delay per aircraft will be about 20 minutes. It'll be about half of that at Gatwick - about 10 minutes."