Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland flight disruption expected after system glitch

By Claire O'Boyle

Northern Ireland travellers have been urged to consult with airlines after a fault with an air traffic management system caused widespread disruption across Europe.

Eurocontrol warned that around 15,000 flights may be hit after it suffered a computer failure.

The issue affected a system used to manage air traffic by analysing demand and capacity.

Flight plans submitted to Eurocontrol before 11.26am were lost and airlines were then asked to resubmit the information. The organisation, which has 41 member states including the UK, said: "We are very sorry about all the disruption and are working hard to get operations back to normal.

"We are expecting that our system should be fully up and running tomorrow."

There are no safety implications as a result of the computer failure, the group added.

Flights from Belfast last night seemed largely unaffected, but an airport worker said any fallout from the fault could be knocked back into today.

Travellers here have been advised to check with their airlines.

Luton-based carrier easyJet said: "Due to an earlier flight failure of the Eurocontrol flight planning system, easyJet like other airlines experienced delays to some departing flights.

"Ten flights were delayed between one hour and three hours with 16 flights delayed as a knock-on effect caused by the initial delays.

"EasyJet will operate 1,598 flights today.

"For passengers on delayed flights we are providing the latest information and refreshments as required.

"We understand that the issue has now been identified and we are working with Eurocontrol to minimise any further disruption for our passengers.

"While the situation is outside of its control, easyJet apologises for any inconvenience caused by the delays."

The UK's busiest airport, Heathrow, said there was no impact on its operations.

Around 59% of departing flights at Gatwick were delayed between 3pm and 4pm, according to data company FlightStats.

The airport was last night unable to confirm that the disruption was caused by the system failure.

Belfast Telegraph

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