Technical problem affecting UK airspace
Heathrow airport issued the following statement on December 12, 2014 at 1531 hours: “There is a technical problem at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, which is affecting UK airspace.
Heathrow airport issued the following statement on December 12, 2014 at 1531 hours: “There is a technical problem at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, which is affecting UK airspace. Flights are currently experiencing delays and we will update passengers as soon as we have more information.”
A system failure occurred at the main national control center in Swanwick which severely restricted London airspace. Immediately, fifty flights had to cancelled, and passengers traveling to and from London’s largest airports faced lengthy delays.
The problem has since been resolved and flights have resumed, however, it will likely take hours to get back on schedule due to the disruption of hundreds of international flights, with the effects felt way beyond London. Planes started to depart again after 4:15 pm on Friday after more than an hour of airspace restriction.
The cause of the problem was a failure of the flight data computer server at the London Area Control Center. A similar computer glitch affected operations at Swanwick for almost 12 hours last December, leaving thousands of passengers stranded as hundreds of flights were grounded. Experts said that a failure in some of the new upgraded software may have introduced a glitch.