UK air traffic controller resolves issue causing flight disruptions

28 Aug 2023

Image: © TellingPhoto/

Nats, the UK air traffic controller, has said that its engineers are now ‘carefully monitoring’ its system that faced a technical issue earlier today.

Hundreds of flights in and out of the UK have had to be delayed or cancelled because of a now-fixed technical glitch that affected its ability to automatically process flight plans.

This has subsequently caused delays and cancellations in some flights across airports in Ireland, with Dublin Airport advising all passengers due to travel today (28 August) to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travelling.

Nats, as the UK’s air traffic controller is called, first announced the “technical issue” at 12.10pm this afternoon, saying that it has “applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety”.

In an update at 3.15pm, Nats said that it has “identified and remedied” the technical issue behind the UK flight disruptions this morning.

“We are now working closely with airlines and airports to manage the flights affected as efficiently as possible. Our engineers will be carefully monitoring the system’s performance as we return to normal operations,” the statement reads.

“The flight planning issue affected the system’s ability to automatically process flight plans, meaning that flight plans had to be processed manually which cannot be done at the same volume, hence the requirement for traffic flow restrictions.”

The technical issue comes at a bad time for UK airlines and air traffic control, which are already under pressure because today is a bank holiday in the UK.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair have both issued statements on the UK flight disruptions, noting that the issue is beyond their control. The airlines said that affected passengers will be contacted directly by the airlines about delays, cancellations and refunds, if necessary.

“UK airspace is not closed but Nats has applied air traffic flow restrictions to ensure they can maintain safety,” reads a Dublin Airport post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Our priority is always to ensure that every flight in the UK remains safe and we are sincerely sorry for the disruption this is causing. Please contact your airline for information on how this may affect your flight,” Nats added in its statement.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic