Air traffic control issues: Yorkshire family's first holiday together ruined by air traffic control chaos

A Yorkshire family who were going on holiday together for the first time has been ruined after air traffic control issues caused huge delays.

Ryan and Kirsty Fawcett, from Selby in North Yorkshire, had travelled to East Midlands Airport with their two-year-old twin sons for their first holiday as a family – and the couple’s first since 2019 – to Antalya in Turkey, scheduled to take off at 4.45pm on Monday.

Mr Fawcett said: “We arrived at about 1pm but we got the text to say we were delayed by three hours, but to get here for the same time. At the same time, we were waiting in departures, we were told it would be a further hour and a half delay to 9.30pm, and then at about 8.20pm we got told to go to Gate 1 to tell us it was cancelled.

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“We got told we would be flying today and we managed to get a hotel at short notice last night, and then they told us this morning that it was cancelled. We’re gutted but it is what it is. If air traffic control has gone down and it is unsafe, it is one of those things, but our two kids have been looking forward to it.”

Airports have warned disruption will continue into today despite the air traffic control glitch being fixed.Airports have warned disruption will continue into today despite the air traffic control glitch being fixed.
Airports have warned disruption will continue into today despite the air traffic control glitch being fixed.

Mrs Fawcett added: “What has annoyed us more is we have been told ‘just sit and wait around’, with the extra expense of hotels and things. What if we didn’t have money spare?

“We will go home and see what happens, and see if we can get a last-minute thing but it depends if we can get the refund. It can’t be helped, but it’s just the waiting – people were having a go at the staff, but it’s not their fault.”

According to East Midlands Airport’s website, only one departure has been cancelled on Tuesday.

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Aviation analytics company Cirium said across all UK airports on Monday, 790 departures and 785 arrivals were cancelled. That was equivalent to around 27 per cent of planned flights.

Meanwhile, airlines will be stepping up to their responsibilities to ensure they get people home, the Transport Secretary has said.

Mark Harper told GB News: “First of all, I just want to reiterate what the National Air Traffic Services said yesterday, to apologise obviously for the disruption that everyone’s had yesterday. The system was fixed yesterday afternoon and things are getting back to normal but there’s obviously some disruption that’s going to continue today for people, and I know thousands of people have been impacted.

“Airlines will be stepping up, I hope, to their responsibilities to make sure that they get people back home, get them on an alternative flight and deal with food and drink and accommodation in the meantime.”

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Asked about the nature of the incident, Mark Harper said: “This was a technical fault. We do not think this was a cybersecurity incident. And what will happen now with an incident of this magnitude is there will be an independent review.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again, because of all the disruption that’s been caused to passengers across the country.”

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