10 April 2002
UK flight chaos after computer failure
A computer failure today at a key air traffic control centre, the second
in recent weeks,
The failure, at about 6am, at the West Drayton centre in west London,
meant that flight data
"There will inevitably be flight delays," said a spokesman for National Air Traffic Services.
A spokesman for Stansted airport in Essex said: "We are experiencing
delays, although some flights are on time. It's a similar air traffic
control problem to the one we had a couple of
A spokesman for Heathrow airport said: "A problem with NATC computers in West Drayton just before 7am meant they had to go on to some sort of manual process.
"This has had a knock-on effect and we are experiencing a handful of delays on departures of up to two hours on both long-haul and domestic flights. Heathrow is still open."
The majority of flights at Manchester airport were grounded from just before 7am. Passengers faced delays of up to three hours, said an airport spokeswoman.
"All our domestic flights to the south of England have been affected
along with international
"Westbound flights are OK but the majority of flights are affected,
and planes are waiting for
A spokesman at Gatwick said the computer failure had briefly affected flights leaving the airport, but had not caused significant delays.
"We have had no major disruption. If it had been on a heavy weekend then we might have noticed it, but it did not cause problems," he said.
Today's problem follows a similar incident at West Drayton just before Easter, when a computer failure led to flight delays and cancellations.
These incidents are a further setback for the newly-privatised National
Air Traffic Services
A group of seven airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic,
has taken a 46 per