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British Airways pilot gives verdict on when UK air space will re-open again after 'technical issue'

British Airways pilot gives verdict on when UK air space will re-open again after 'technical issue'

Many flights to and from the UK are currently grounded

A British Airways pilot has given their verdict on when UK air space will re-open again following news of a widespread 'technical issue'.

Many flights to and from the UK are currently grounded due to a technical problem with traffic control, with the National Air Traffic Controller Service (NATS) telling LADbible: "We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety. Engineers are working to find and fix the fault.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please check with your airline on the status of your flight. We will provide updates on for the latest news and on X - @NATS.

"To be clear, UK airspace is not closed, we have had to apply air traffic flow restrictions which ensures we can maintain safety."

A number of popular airports in the UK and Ireland have warned of severe delays and potential cancellations, including London Luton, Belfast and Dublin Airport.

Many planes are currently grounded.
Stela Di/Pixabay

While some flights are still safely landing, many locations face a significantly reduced 'flow rate', with few planes arriving on time.

And speaking to The Mirror earlier today, a British Airways pilot warned that the backlog of affected services could be 'big' and that the knock-on effect will be felt for some time.

The pilot - who asked to remain anonymous - said issues with NATS air traffic control system have caused delays of around 700 minutes, or nearly 12 hours, for most airlines operating in the UK.

They explained: "No one knows when it is going to get fixed. They're having to manually process every flight plan, instead of the system doing it for them.

"When you put a flight plan in for a flight it gets approved automatically, as long as it's compliant with restrictions. Instead of system automatically approving it they all have to be processed. A person has to physically do that. It is a big backlog."

They added: "Aircraft will be out of position for tomorrow and the knock-on effect will be felt for a while. But it just takes a couple of cancellations to get things back in order.

"As soon as it gets fixed, all the flight plans will be processed immediately. It can be fixed as quickly as it is broken. In half an hour's time if it's fixed, you'll have a bunch of delays. The longer it goes on the worse it gets. It's a turn it off and back on situation."

A BA pilot has warned the knock-on effects may be felt for a while.
Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay

In an updated statement to LADbible, NATS confirmed that the issue has now been 'remedied', but that it was continuing to manage affected flights.

"We have identified and remedied the technical issue affecting our flight planning system this morning," a spokesperson said.

"We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible.

"Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance over the next few hours as we return to normal operations.

"The flight planning issue affected the system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which cannot be done at the same volume, hence the requirement for traffic flow restrictions.

"Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight."

Featured Image Credit: Pexels / Twitter/@flightradar

Topics: UK News, Travel