Everything you need to know about air traffic control failure on Tuesday as more flights cancelled

More than 200 flights in and out of the UK have been cancelled on Tuesday as airlines struggle with crew and aircraft out of position

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 29 August 2023 17:16 BST
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<p>Night stop: passengers at the South Terminal at London Gatwick airport </p>

Night stop: passengers at the South Terminal at London Gatwick airport

As airlines struggle to recover from the four-hour failure of the main air-traffic control system across the UK on Monday, airlines are making dozens more cancellations.

Aircraft and flight crew are out of position after the severe disruption on bank holiday Monday.

More than 1,200 flights to, from and within the UK were grounded by the failure at Nats, the national air-traffic provider. Around 200,000 people are starting the day where they did not wish to be – with many sleeping overnight at airports.

Flight cancellations are continuing. Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has grounded more than 80 flights on Tuesday. Three dozen are at Gatwick, including flights serving holiday destinations such as Athens and Venice.

In Scotland, Edinburgh is hard hit with 22 easyJet cancellations, including long flights to Rhodes and Tenerife. At Manchester, easyJet has grounded 14 flights.

The airline has also cancelled flights from Luton to and from Amsterdam, Malaga and Murcia.

A spokesperson for easyJet said:

“Due to the UK Air Traffic Control systems failure yesterday causing disruption to flights to and from the UK, some flights this morning have been unable to operate due to aircraft being out of base and yesterday’s delays having an impact on crew rest requirements.”

British Airways has grounded more than 60 flights on Tuesday. Most are short-haul departures from London Heathrow, including Athens, Ibiza and Pisa. But transatlantic flights are also affected, with the Heathrow-Nashville and Gatwick-Tampa cancelled.

From Gatwick, one BA flight to and from each of Nice and Palma is grounded.

The airline’s “middle seat empty” policy for Club Europe passengers is being suspended on Tuesday in order to try to fill every plane. Normally business-class passengers expect an empty seat next to them.

Travellers with bookings on British Airways short-haul flights on Tuesday are being offered the option to switch to future dates, in order to ease the pressure on getting people where they need to be.

Delayed British Airways flights from Geneva, Istanbul and Paris arrived after midnight at London Heathrow, which normally has its last arrivals of the day before 11pm.

Other airlines are affected at Heathrow. Aer Lingus and Lufthansa have cancelled their first services to Dublin and Munich respectively due to the inbound flights being grounded.

Virgin Atlantic has cancelled its morning flight from Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

Turkish Airlines’ evening arrival from Istanbul is now nine hours behind schedule.

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, has grounded about 40 departures, mainly to and from London Stansted and Edinburgh.

Train operators have stepped in to assist passengers hit by airline cancellations.

LNER, which runs trains on the East Coast main line between London, Newcastle and Scotland, and the intercity operator TransPennine Express, are offering free rail travel for passengers returning to the UK who arrive at a different airport to their original destination.

During times of travel chaos, The Independent’s travel correspondant Simon Calder is here to provide unparalleled advice to holidaymakers. You can sign up to Simon’s newsletter by clicking here. Subscribers to Independent Premium can also receive a weekly Ask Me Anything email from Simon which sees him answer your burning travel questions. You can sign up to Independent Premium by clicking here.

Simon will also be on hand from 9-10am GMT, on Wednesday 30 August to answer all your questions in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ event here. From advice on your rights to what to do if your flight is cancelled, he will be answering live in the comments section and you can submit your questions in advance by clicking here.

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