French airline’s blunder probed as cause of air traffic meltdown at UK airports

Officers are investigating a French airline to see if it was behind the air traffic control meltdown that caused havoc at several airports with many passengers stranded during the worst outage in more than a decade.

Sources told The Times that the fault may have been caused by an incorrectly filed plan by a French airline. 

Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it experienced “technical issues” after nearly 1,000 flights were grounded and cancelled with several more delayed on Monday.  

The mayhem happened on one of the year’s busiest days, when more than a million people were due to fly out of or land in the UK.

According to the experts, the disruption will likely continue into the week despite the seven-hour “network failure” that left thousands of holidaymakers stranded being “remedied” on Monday afternoon.

READ MORE Brits plunged into airport delay chaos as air traffic control systems fail

It is believed that the officials are aware of what caused the outage but not how it disabled the system. A cyber attack was also ruled out by NATS. 

Cirium reported that more than 500 flights were cancelled by mid-afternoon, with hundreds more also aborted from knock-on effects. 

The data analysts also said that 3,054 flights were due to arrive in UK airports on Monday, which is around 543,000 seats. 

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Another 3,049 flights (540,000 seats), were due to depart, meaning more than a million people were set to leave or arrive in the UK. 

It follows a ‘huge failure’ of the national air traffic control system which caused chaos on the August Bank Holiday Monday.

NATS said it experienced “technical issues” that forced controllers to switch from an automatic system for landing and dispatching flights to a manual one.

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A spokesperson for NATS said: “Flight plans are being input manually which means we cannot process them at the same volume, hence we have applied traffic flow restrictions.”

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