Aircraft in and out of the UK are currently grounded (Saturday 9:28am) due to a 'computer glitch' which has prevented the National Air Traffic Service [NATS] overnight light running computer program - operates at 15% of capacity - switching to the full 100% computer system required for daytime services. Passengers intending to travel are advised to contact their airline.
Passanger Daisy McAndrew said she had been caught in the "unholy mess" at Gatwick as she tried to fly to Barcelona for work.
"As ever, staff have been fantastic but they know nothing other than the fact it is going to be a very, very long delay - very frustrating," Ms McAndrew told Sky News.
"And also, it's embarrassing, isn't it? When you look around a lot of people on my plane are not British, they are flying British Airways, they are probably trying to get back to Spain and they will inevitably be thinking this is something that could have possibly been prevented.
"It doesn't show our air traffic control system or our travel system in a good light.
"I have never heard of an example where every single plane is grounded - it's quite eerie when I look out of the window to see the tarmac in Gatwick, normally so busy, and also the sky above Gatwick which is normally busy - completely static, there's nothing moving."
Some operators are suggesting passengers should check in as usual, but to expect considerable delays. Some inbound flights are also being held at departing airports. A Europe-wide log jam is now building up.
Passengers tweeting and telephoning Radio and TV stations, are complaining that little or no information is being given, and that as they have not taken off no teas or coffees are being served! This NATS computer glitch is expected to cost airlines millions in lost revenue and compensation.
Some domestic inland shuttle flights may however still take off and fly 'at a lower level'. NATS stress that Passenger and aircraft safety has not been compromised.
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