UK air traffic control system failure persists — What's the latest update?

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Web Desk
Passengers queue inside the departures terminal at a UK airport. — Reuters
Passengers queue inside the departures terminal at a UK airport. — Reuters 

A technical fault in the UK's air traffic control system caused hundreds of flights to be delayed or cancelled on Monday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Here is the latest update on the situation. 

Passengers have been advised to check if their flight is affected on one of the biggest travel days of the year.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) apologised for the fault just after midday, before announcing that it had identified and resolved the issue that was hindering its "ability to automatically process flight plans".

The engineers would be monitoring the system's performance as it returns to normal, they added.

It had earlier stressed that "UK airspace is not closed, we have had to apply air traffic flow restrictions which ensures we can maintain safety".

Multiple airports across Britain, and airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air, Loganair and Aer Lingus have all foretold their passengers of delays or possible terminations.

British Airways said it had to make "significant changes" to its schedule and advised passengers due to catch short-haul journeys to check their flight's status as it "may no longer be operating".

Travel expert Simon Calder said that such technological issues are "extremely rare" and only happen every five to ten years. He said that there are backup systems in place to prevent a shutdown like this, but that "sometimes things do go wrong."

Calder also dismissed rumours that the fault was caused by a cyberattack. He said that there is "no evidence" to support this claim.

The fault is a major headache for airlines and passengers alike. It is estimated that the cancellations and delays could cost the airlines millions of pounds.