London flights delayed by up to an hour

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News

Flights to and from London from Belfast International Airport are being delayed this evening due to a computer glitch.

A spokeswoman for Belfast International Airport said there had been a fault in London from 3-5pm which could result in delays of 30-60 minutes for London flights for the rest of the evening.

She advised any travellers going to or from London to contact their airlines. There have been no cancellations as of 5.35pm on Friday

A computer glitch at the state-of-the-art UK air traffic control centre headquarters led to the flight chaos.

For a time no aircraft were able to take off or land at some of the UK’s major airports.

And although air traffic control company Nats were able to announce around 4.15pm that the problem had been resolved flight delays were expected to drag on into the evening.

Heathrow and Stansted were among the airports where no flights were possible for a period during mid-afternoon following the problem at Nats’ headquarters at Swanwick in Hampshire.

Nats described the issue as a technical problem with air traffic management company Eurocontrol describing it as a computer “failure”.

One passenger caught up in the travel chaos was Matt Warren.

He tweeted: “Stuck on the tarmac at Heathrow airport. Air traffic control failures. No flights in or out. “

British Airways said: “We are working hard to look after our customers who have been affected by the air traffic control failure experienced by all airlines at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports.

“We anticipate disruption to both departing and arriving flights but will do all we can to minimise any impact.

“We will endeavour to keep our customers informed of the status of their flight but we would urge anyone with a flight booking to check ba.com before leaving for the airport.

“If you do not wish to travel from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City this evening we are offering our customers the opportunity to rebook their flight to a later date or a full refund.”

A Birmingham Airport spokeswoman said the airport remained open.

She went on: “In most cases flights taking off to the north are not affected. Flights going south, some are delayed while some are re-routing.”

She advised passengers to check the status of individual flights.

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.