LONDON- Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London is experiencing delays for airline passengers due to restrictions imposed by air traffic control on the number of planes allowed to land or take off.
National Air Traffic Services (NATS) informed the BBC that unforeseen staff absences and strong winds prompted the implementation of these restrictions. NATS added that they anticipate an improvement in the situation later in the afternoon.
London Heathrow Airport Delays
A Heathrow spokesperson mentioned the possibility of minor changes to flight schedules, refraining from specifying the number of affected journeys. Passengers were advised to check with their respective airlines.
British Airways acknowledged making “some adjustments to our short-haul schedule.” Typically, around 175 short-haul British Airways flights are arriving at Heathrow daily.
Passengers turned to social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) to express their frustration, with concerns raised about potential missed connections to other destinations. Some individuals are reportedly experiencing significant delays, lasting for several hours.
NATS has faced criticism in recent months due to disruptions at UK airports. In late August, a technical failure in the UK’s air traffic control systems led to the cancellation or disruption of thousands of flights.
Just over two weeks later, Gatwick Airport (LGW) experienced flight cancellations, delays, or diversions on short notice due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.
ATC Shortage and Weather Issues
National Air Traffic Services (NATS) acknowledged on Sunday that ‘short notice staff absence in the tower’ and strong winds prompted restrictions on aircraft landings and take-offs.
A spokesperson stated that efforts were underway to minimize disruption by collaborating closely with Heathrow Airport and airlines.
Passengers were advised to verify their flight status with the respective airline. NATS emphasized that such restrictions are implemented to ensure safety, expressing apologies for any inconvenience.
British Airways (BA) reported reaching out to affected customers, offering apologies, and providing rebooking options or full refunds.
In coordination with airline and air traffic control partners, Heathrow Airport assured passengers that its staff are working to facilitate safe and timely journeys. Travelers were encouraged to check with their airlines for the latest updates.
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