Dozens of flights to and from Heathrow airport were delayed or cancelled due to a power outage at air traffic control, European air traffic control authority Eurocontrol said on Friday. London airspace was briefly closed.
Heathrow, which is the UK’s busiest airport, reported earlier: “There is a power outage at the NATS control center in Swanwick which is affecting UK airspace.”
“Flights are currently experiencing delays. We will update passengers as soon as we have more information.”
London Gatwick, Stansted and Luton Airports are accepting arrivals but have suspended departures.
A number of flights were held over the English Channel.
Manchester Airport meanwhile says it is unaffected by the airspace closure and claims it is ready to accept any London bound diverted flights..
London airspace has been effectively closed until 7pm due to a power outage at a control centre.
People travelling have been warned to expect severe delays.
NATs have said: “We can confirm that a technical problem has been reported at Swanwick air traffic control centre. We apologise for any delays and our incident response team has been mobilised. Every possible action is being taken to assist in resolving the situation and to confirm the details. Further information will be released as it becomes available.”
The state-of-the art centre at Swanwick has been subject to a number of computer glitches since Nats moved there from its old headquarters in West Drayton in west London in the early part of the last decade.
One of the worst problems was a year ago – on Saturday December 7 2013 – when thousands of passengers were left stranded when hundreds of flights were grounded following a technical fault at the Hampshire centre.
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Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.
Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. An aerial photo of London Heathrow Airport.
Bottom Image: SPA. A rare radar image – no flights airborne over the London area during the ground stop.