U.K. Airports Resume Normal Service After Air Traffic Flaw

U.K. airports resumed regular service after a technical fault in the system that manages the country’s air traffic disrupted flights and delayed thousands of passengers yesterday.

Operations returned to normal at London Heathrow, a spokeswoman for Europe’s busiest hub said today. Eight arrivals and four departures were canceled this morning as some planes remain at other airports after more than 200 flights were scratched yesterday, said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, citing company policy.

National Air Traffic Services Holdings Ltd., which provides U.K. air traffic management services, handled about 20 percent fewer flights yesterday after a problem with its ground communications system, the company said in a statement. Eurocontrol, the region’s central airspace management organization, said about 1,300 flights, 8 percent of total traffic, were “severely delayed.”

The problem was resolved after 7 p.m. last night, NATS said. Officials in the company’s press office didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls and an e-mail seeking comment on the status of its services.

London’s Gatwick airport said it’s “back to normal operations today” and London Stansted said it has returned to its regular flight schedule, in posts on their respective Twitter pages. All London hubs advise passengers to check the status of flights before leaving for the airport.

British Airways, the biggest user of Heathrow, said there remains a possibility of some cancellations at the airport in a statement today. The airline is returning to normal schedules at its London City and Stansted terminals.

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