Irish Aviation Authority warns passengers of three-hour delays

DUBLIN, Ireland - Flights in the London area are returning to normal after a power failure at a major air traffic control centre caused havoc.

Irish Aviation Authority warns passengers of three-hour delays

DUBLIN, Ireland – Flights in the London area are returning to normal after a power failure at a major air traffic control centre caused havoc.

The Irish Aviation Authority warned of two to three-hour delays on many flights between Ireland and the UK and much of the rest of Europe this evening.

Flights were thrown into chaos after a computer issue at the southern England headquarters of air traffic control company NATS.

NATS this evening said: “Following a technical failure at Swanwick, the system has been restored and we are in the process of returning to normal operations.

“We apologise for any delays and the inconvenience this may have caused.

“Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

Air traffic management company Eurocontrol said there had been “a failure” at the centre.

Passengers are advised to check airline websites for further information.

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The state-of-the art air traffic control centre at Swanwick has been subject to a number of computer glitches since NATS moved there from its old headquarters in west London in the early part of the last decade.

One of the worst problems was a year ago – on Saturday 7 December 2013 – when thousands of passengers were left stranded when hundreds of flights were grounded following a technical fault at the Hampshire centre.

Ryanair criticised the system failure. In a statement, the airline said: “We apologise to customers for any inconvenience and thank them for their patience.

“It’s unacceptable that the NATS ATC system dropped for the second time in 12 months, particularly on a busy Friday in the run up to Christmas.”

Ryanair warned passengers to expect delays but said cancellations were not envisaged.

Aer Lingus also said it plans “to operate all flights for the remainder of the day. However customers can expect lengthy delays on flights between Ireland, UK and Continental Europe.”

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