UK flight chaos made worse by remote working – report — RT World News

A watchdog has revealed it took too long for key staff to arrive at the office after an IT collapse led to widespread grounding of flights last August.

Britain's air traffic control collapse last August, which grounded flights during a busy travel period, was exacerbated by the fact that key staff were working from home, according to an interim report commissioned by the country's aviation watchdog, the CAA.

Thousands of passengers were stranded for days after 1,500 flights were canceled on August 28, 2023, when the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) computerized flight planning system shut down due to a glitch.

Central Agency for Interim Accounts a reportWhich was published on Thursday, showed that the problem was solved “Longer than it could have been.” Due to the absence of some senior engineers during the bank holiday.

It took an engineer 90 minutes to arrive at the site in Swanwick, Hampshire, to manually restart the system, according to the report. The chief engineer on duty was not called for more than three hours after the initial problem arose. The report added that NATS, which operates air traffic services in the UK, waited four hours to contact the company that built the software.

A review of the incident showed the crash was caused by the inability of the Nats computer system to process unusual, but correct, data in the flight plan submitted for an aircraft crossing UK airspace to Paris from Los Angeles. It indicated that two separate dots, or navigational marks, with an identical symbol resulted in an error “Fatal Exception Error” This forced the system and its backups into a “fail-safe” mode. Navigational signs are provided by airlines to air traffic controllers in order to reduce the risk of mid-air collisions.

“This report contains compelling evidence that the NATS’ basic resilience planning and actions were woefully inadequate and fell far short of what should be expected for national infrastructure of this importance.” Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of British Airways, said:

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary explained this “The fact that NATS's key engineers were sitting at home during a peak travel weekend, combined with findings that NATS suffered from a fundamental lack of advance planning, documentation, and coordination, clearly required changes at senior management.”

According to estimates by the aviation regulator, more than 700,000 passengers were affected during the incident, including 300,000 people whose flights were cancelled.

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