[BBC News] Passengers are facing widespread flight disruption after a computer failure at the UK’s air traffic control centre.
Vicky Lane, a passenger on a grounded London to Dublin plane at Gatwick said: “We’ve been stuck on a Ryanair flight… for over an hour.
“The doors are open and we’re really cold. I’m not sure when we will be leaving.”
Another passenger, on a flight to Paris, said his plane had “circled around the Lake District for half an hour before turning back to Edinburgh”.
Ed Bott told the BBC he was: “Currently sitting on the tarmac. None the wiser. Waiting for news as to what’s happening.”
Aviation journalist David Learmount said the IT problem would cause “major disruption” but would be resolved by Saturday.
“This impacts not just people within the UK, it impacts flights heading here from anywhere – anything heading this way will be told some of them can’t be accepted, and they will have to go back to where they flew from or consider diverting to other countries,” he told the BBC.
The RAF – which has its own air traffic control systems – said the UK military was unaffected.
According to one travel expert, the compensation bill from the disruption could run into tens of millions.
“The airlines will already be racking up the costs,” Independent journalist Simon Calder told BBC News. “Simply refunding passengers’ fares is going to cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“The airline also has an unlimited duty of care to put people up in hotels, to feed them and everything else, until they can get them to their destination.”
12th Dec, 2014