Ryanair boss blasts air traffic chaos as No 10 doesn't rule out French airline may be to blame for stranding 200,000 | The Sun

RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has blasted the National Air Traffic Services after his airline was forced to cancel 250 flights.

Number 10 has not ruled out if a French airline blunder may be to be blame for the “technical issue” which left 200,000 holidaymakers stranded.

Government and aviation officials have ruled out that yesterday’s incident was a cyberattack. 

Sources this morning suggested the issue could be the result of an incorrectly filed plan by a French airline.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper told GB News: "What will happen now with an incident of this magnitude is there will be an independent review.

"The Civil Aviation Authority will be putting together a report in the coming days, which obviously I will take a look at to see whether there are lessons to learn for the future, to see whether we can reduce the impact of this again.”

Ryanair boss Mr O’Leary this morning blasted the NATs for the issue.

He said: “We have had a very difficult day yesterday due to the UK NATS  ATC failure. 

“I’m sad to report that we had to cancel about 250 flights, affecting the flights of about 40,000 passengers because of long delays to flight plans and crews running out of hours.

He added: “We have been in contact with UK NATS , we still haven’t had an explanation from them about what it is that exactly caused this failure from them yesterday and where were the back up systems.

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“It is not acceptable that they can simply allow for their computer systems to be taken down and for everybody’s flights be cancelled or delayed.”

The issue started on Monday after ATC provider National Air Traffic Services (Nats) suffered what it described as a "technical issue" preventing it from automatically processing flight plans.

This resulted in the number of flights being restricted while the plans were checked manually, leading more than a quarter of flights at UK airports to be cancelled.

Nats said at 3.15pm on Monday the problem was resolved, but disruption continued into Tuesday as many aircraft and crews were out of position.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told broadcasters: "I know people will be enormously frustrated by the disruption that's impacting them.

"Thankfully things like this are rare and the issue itself was fixed in a matter of hours, but the disruption obviously is continuing and will last for a little while longer.

"The Transport Secretary is in constant dialogue with all the industry participants, he will be talking to airlines specifically later today and making sure that they support passengers to get home as quickly as possible."

Analysis of flight data websites shows at least 281 flights – including departures and arrivals – were cancelled on Tuesday at the UK's six busiest airports.

This consisted of 75 at Gatwick, 74 at Heathrow, 63 at Manchester, 28 at Stansted, 23 at Luton and 18 at Edinburgh.

Many other flights were significantly delayed.

An NATS spokesperson said: “We would like to reiterate our apology for yesterday’s technical issue affecting UK air traffic control. 

“We know a great many people have had their travel plans disrupted and are still facing the impact of delays and cancellations. 

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“Our systems are operating as normal and we are working with the airlines and airports to get people where they need to go and clear the backlog as quickly as possible. 

“A thorough investigation is now underway to understand the root cause of what happened and we are committed to learning any lessons to minimise the chance of a similar incident happening again.”

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