Update statement: Swanwick technical problem

07 December 2013


In the early hours of this morning, a technical problem occurred at our Area Control centre at Swanwick. The problem is related to the internal telephone system used by our air traffic controllers and is expected to take about six hours to resolve.

At night, when it’s quiet, sectors of airspace are combined. As it gets busier in the daytime the sectors are split out again and additional control positions are opened to meet the traffic demand. Because of the problem with the internal telephone system, it was not possible to open the additional control positions this morning, resulting in a significant reduction in capacity in some areas of UK en-route airspace.

Safety has not been compromised at any time.

Normally by midday on a Saturday we would have handled about 2000 flights. Today we have handled somewhere in the region of 1,700 – a reduction of about 20%.

We now understand what the problem is and our engineers are working hard to rectify the issues as quickly as possible. Everyone in our operation is continuing to work closely with our customers to manage the traffic and clear the backlog.

We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience being caused to passengers.


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