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Airports back to normal after IT failure

SCOTTISH airports are back to normal service after a technical fault at a crucial air traffic control centre caused hundreds of flights across the UK to be delayed or cancelled.

Glasgow Airport had to cancel one early morning flight to Heathrow yesterday, but there were no other delays. There were no delays or cancellations at either Edinburgh Airport or Prestwick Airport. The disruption was caused by a telephone software failure at the National Air Traffic Service centre in Hampshire on Saturday, which took 12 hours to fix.

Air traffic controllers across the UK and Europe use the system to communicate with each other about flights. Thousands of passengers faced cancellations and had to endure long waits after the failure, which resulted in the system being able to handle about 20% fewer flights than on a normal Saturday.

Juliet Kennedy, from Nats, said controllers were now able to manage normal levels of traffic, but added that passengers could potentially continue to experience some delays because of the earlier problems.

"I recognise that airlines have their schedules disrupted because they end up with aeroplanes in the wrong place so it may take them some time to restore their operation to normal, but the system, from an air traffic perspective, is already back to normal," she said.

The worst-affected airport was Heathrow, which had cancelled 228 flights by 7pm on Saturday. Other affected airports included Gatwick, Stansted, Cardiff, Belfast.

Eurocontrol said 1300 flights had been "severely delayed" across Europe.

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