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Technical Glitch, Not Cyber Threat, Behind UK’s Air Traffic Disruptions


Airline passengers braced for ongoing disruptions following a technical breakdown in the UK's air traffic control system that left hundreds of thousands stranded on Monday, Aug. 28.

British Transport Secretary Mark Harper addressed the crisis in a recent interview with Sky News, issuing an apology for the malfunction that he noted was the most severe the country has seen in nearly a decade.

"Normally, the system works very well and we obviously want to look to see if there's anything we can do to avoid this disruption in the future," Harper said. He emphasized that cybersecurity had been ruled out as a cause by technical experts, easing concerns about potential cyberattacks.



Harper confirmed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is set to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident. "There will be a report that comes to me and we'll look at that very carefully to see whether there are changes that need to be put in place," he added.

The failure wreaked havoc on air travel during a holiday weekend, resulting in 500 canceled flights and significant delays for numerous others, according to British media reports. Returning holidaymakers and those intending to depart from UK airports encountered flight cancellations and delays of up to 12 hours. The disruptions are expected to continue through Tuesday.



Heathrow Airport, among the most affected, has advised passengers to contact their respective airlines before heading to the airport. "The flight schedules are still experiencing the aftermath of yesterday's airspace restrictions in the UK," a spokesperson for the airport said. "Although most passengers will still be able to proceed with their travel plans, regrettably, some routes, including flight cancellations, will experience disruptions."

The UK's air traffic control system failure has not only disrupted local flights but also had a cascading effect on international air travel, posing challenges for airlines and passengers alike. As the country’s busiest airports struggle to recover, all eyes are on the pending CAA investigation for insights into preventing such widespread disruptions in the future. (AA)


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