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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Niall O'Connor/The Journal People queueing at the Ryanair help desk in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport this afternoon.

More than 100 flights to and from Irish airports cancelled due to UK air traffic control fault

The UK’s National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has said that the cause of the technical fault will be investigated “very thoroughly”.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 28th 2023, 9:30 PM

THE UK’S NATIONAL Air Traffic Service (NATS) has said that a technical fault which caused dozens of flights to and from Irish airports to be delayed or cancelled will be investigated “very thoroughly”.

The issue caused widespread disruption to passengers in airports across Europe and saw airlines cancel more than 100 flights into and out of Dublin Airport.

The technical fault meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers.

At around 3.15pm, NATS said it had “identified and remedied” the fault affecting its systems and was working with airlines and airports to support affected flights.

In a statement this evening, Juliet Kennedy, operations director at NATS, apologised for the impact the fault had on people’s travel plans.

“The issue we had earlier meant that our automatic system, which provides controllers with details of every aircraft and its route, wasn’t working. Instead, to manage safety, we had to limit the number of flights we could manage,” she said.

“Our teams worked hard to resolve the problem, and I’m pleased to say it was fixed earlier on this afternoon. However, it will take some time for flights to return to normal.

“We will continue to work with the airlines and the airports to recover the situation. Our absolute priority is safety and we will be investigating very thoroughly what happened today.”

Daa, which operates Dublin Airport and Cork Airport, said the issues had caused delays on some routes.

In a statement to The Journal this evening, Graeme McQueen, media relations manager at daa, said “multiple flights” to, from and over the UK were impacted by the fault. 

“Airlines have cancelled more than 100 flights into and out of Dublin Airport today. The team at Dublin Airport is working hard to support our airline partners and to ensure passengers impacted by today’s air traffic control issues in the UK resume their travel plans as quickly and as safely as possible,” he said.

“Passengers intending to fly today and tomorrow are reminded to check the status of their flight with their airline, before travelling to the airport.”

At Dublin Airport earlier today, The Journal saw long queues building at the Ryanair ticket desk, with some UK-bound passengers affected by the delays.

It’s understood some passengers were told it would be tomorrow before their flights are rearranged.

Aer Lingus this evening said that despite the technical issue being resolved, it is continuing to face “unavoidable cancellations and delays”. 

“We are doing everything possible to minimise any further disruption to our customers and we apologise to all those impacted for the inconvenience caused, which is due to circumstances outside of our control,” the airline said.

It advised passengers to check the status of their flight before coming to the airport. 

Ryanair also cancelled a number of flights as a result of the technical fault.

“All affected passengers will be notified of their options to change flights (free of charge) to another Ryanair flight or receive a full refund,” it said.

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