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Travelup Facebook Followers Review the Air Traffic Control Glitch That Caused Weekend Delays


Reading, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/17/2013 -- Travellers this weekend were plagued by flight disruption and cancellations as a result of a telephone glitch, causing distress for thousands of travellers in the UK. The National Air Traffic Control Systems’ (NATS) internal phone network went down on Saturday 7th December, throwing flights from London in particular into disarray. This had an effect on customers who were hoping to get away for the weekend in the festive period.

NATS revealed that the delays were caused by their telephone network breaking down in the early hours of Saturday morning. The majority of the flights that were disrupted were in the south of the country, with Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow reporting the majority of the delays. By 4 pm, NATS released a statement that 2576 flights had been processed, a decrease of nearly 400 flights in comparison to the same time on the previous Saturday. Many passengers were naturally distraught, with one in particular having missed his sister’s wedding as a result of delays.

The glitch according to NATS had such a large impact on the traffic control systems because they rely on the secure internal phone network to relay information between airports and the operations centre at Swanwick, Hampshire. When they tried to switch the network from the night mode, which is naturally quieter, to the busy morning period, the network failed. Customers were advised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to contact their airline or operator such as Travelup ATOL protected travel agency to find out how the flights were operating on Saturday evening. There have also been complaints submitted to the CAA from some airlines, as they claim there should have been a contingency. NATS have responded by saying there is more to the glitch than simply phones going down, but ‘a million lines of software’.

The delays lasted across the country for a minimum of just under an hour and restricted to mainly the internal flights into London, but airports such as Leeds Bradford and Birmingham reported few disruptions to other destinations.

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