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Airlines flying to the UK have warned of cancellations and delays over the busy summer bank holiday weekend after a “technical issue” disrupted the country’s air traffic control services.

Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said on Monday it had been forced to implement “traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety” and engineers were working to find and fix the fault.

It added that, contrary to earlier reports, British airspace remained open, but gave no further information on what had caused the problem.

Eurocontrol, the group that oversees air traffic management in Europe, has warned that the UK has been hit by a “fault in the flight data processing system”, meaning flights in the UK are “regulated at low rates and individual flights The delay rate is very high.”

The disruption comes on one of the busiest days of the year as holidaymakers return to the UK on the final day of the bank holiday weekend.

Ryanair warned the problems were affecting “all airlines operating to and from the UK today” and said it would be forced to delay or cancel “a number of flights” as a result.

British Airways said in a statement: “We are working closely with Nats to understand the impact of the technical issue affecting UK airspace and will keep our customers up to date with the latest information.”

Scots Loganair said on social media that there was a “network-wide outage in the air traffic control system”, meaning “delays and disruptions are expected throughout the day for all airlines”.

London Heathrow Airport, the UK’s busiest airport, said: “Flights across the UK have been disrupted due to national airspace issues. We are working closely with Nats and other airport partners to minimize the impact on passengers.”

London Gatwick Airport warned that flights had been delayed and cancellations were expected.

Passengers of airlines stranded at airports across Europe have complained of flight delays on social media. BBC Sports broadcaster Gabby Logan said in a post: “In a plane on the runway at Budapest airport. Just told UK airspace is closed. We can stay here for 12 hours. So We sat on the plane and waited.”


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