UK air traffic control says flights returning to normal after technical problems

Britain's air traffic authority NATS said it had done enough to fix an earlier system issue for flights to start returning to normal after technical problems. (File/Reuters)
Updated 26 July 2019

UK air traffic control says flights returning to normal after technical problems

  • Earlier, Eurocontrol, NATS' pan-European equivalent, said the outage had caused a high level of delays at Heathrow and Gatwick, though they appeared to be easing
  • British Airways said it had been affected by severe weather conditions overnight as well as by the technical issue

LONDON:  Britain's air traffic authority NATS said it had done enough to fix an earlier system issue for flights to start returning to normal after technical problems delayed planes at Britain's two busiest airports, London's Heathrow and Gatwick.
The air traffic control issue had compounded travel chaos in London, with commuter trains impacted by a summer heatwave and the Eurostar rail link to France halted by a power cable failure.
"Following the technical problem at Swanwick air traffic control centre this morning, we have now fixed the issue sufficiently to safely increase traffic flow rates and will see an improving picture through the rest of the day," NATS said in a statement.
Earlier, Eurocontrol, NATS' pan-European equivalent, said the outage had caused a high level of delays at Heathrow and Gatwick, though they appeared to be easing.
British Airways said it had been affected by severe weather conditions overnight as well as by the technical issue.
"We are doing everything we can to minimise the disruption, and our teams are working tirelessly to ensure as many of our customers as possible are able to depart on their trips," it said in a statement.
"We have apologised to our customers, and are rebooking them onto alternative services or offering them hotel accommodation if necessary."


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 33 min 42 sec ago

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.