Thousands Hit By London Flight Delays

7 December 2013, 12:25 | Updated: 7 December 2013, 12:32

Flights have been delayed and cancelled at airports across the UK because of a technical problem at an air traffic control centre.

Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City Airport  have all been affected.

National Air Traffic Services said the issue arose at its control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire, in the early hours of the morning when a computing glitch meant the night-time operation failed to properly switch over to the daytime system.

Heathrow had cancelled 60 flights by 9.45am, with that figure split roughly equally between departures and arrivals.

Independent aviation analyst Chris Yates said: "It's going to be a day of frustrations and the knock-on effects are going to last for the whole day because of the backlog of planes. It will be a tough day for everybody."

"There are contingency plans in place whenever this happens," he said. "Many of the long-haul flights, coming from China, India, the US and so on, passengers sitting on those planes may find themselves diverted to continental airports.

"But it's going to be a long wait for them. When the system kicks back in and starts working, there will be a backlog of flights.

"For those waiting to fly out, it's going to be a case of sitting around the airport terminal until things get back to normal."

Passengers are advised to check with their airline for the latest situation.