Flights Delayed From Scottish Airports on Radio Interference

  • Air-traffic controllers have difficulty speaking to pilots
  • Short-haul services affected more than long-haul flights

Flights serving Scottish airports will suffer delays Monday after communications between the country’s main air traffic control center and pilots were disrupted overnight.

Europewide delay projections caused by interference on radio frequencies linking controllers in Scotland with pilots have been reduced by 70 percent, and are now comparable to flight holdups on Monday stemming from fog around airports in Paris, Munich and Lisbon, said a spokesman for NATS, the British air-traffic control authority.

Passengers most affected are currently those waiting to take off from Scottish airports, including Glasgow, said the spokesman, who declined to give a time frame on when the fault will be resolved. Short-haul flights face greater delays than long-haul services, which are being diverted from Scottish air space.

Flight delays at Glasgow are now averaging about half an hour, said Brian McClean, a spokesman for the city’s airport. Schedules were similarly affected at Prestwick and Edinburgh, he said. Planes heading out over the North Atlantic to the U.S. aren’t being held up, as the western sector of Scottish air traffic control is operating close to normal, he said.

In a typical day, Eurocontrol, which monitors air traffic across 42 countries including the 28 European Union nations, handles 30,000 flights.

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