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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Flight delays misery at airports
Delayed passengers
Thousands of passengers faced delays
Air passengers in Scotland have faced a day of delays after computer failure at an air traffic control centre near London.

Flights across the UK were disrupted and although the fault was fixed in the morning, it left a huge backlog.

There were delays to flights at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Prestwick and Inverness airports.

On Thursday evening, airport operator BAA Scotland said a "small number" of flights were still affected.

A spokesman for the company, which operates Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, said: "Following this morning's air traffic control problems, BAA Scotland is continuing to advise all airline passengers to check-in as normal but to consult their airline if they need specific advice.

"At 5pm, the majority of flights are operating normally however a small number remain subject to minor delays."

Unfortunately, as anybody who flies down to London will know, you don't have to have too much of a problem before you've got huge delays building up
Alistair Darling
Transport Secretary
BAA Scotland said a total of 55 flights were cancelled at its airports, with more than 200 flights delayed.

The spokesman said: "Throughout the day, we have worked closely with our airlines to make the situation as tolerable as possible for delayed passengers and thank airport staff for their hard work and the travelling public for their patience and understanding during a difficult day."

The impact of the computer problem at the National Air Traffic Services control centre at West Drayton was felt across the UK, with domestic and international flights affected.

'Complete shambles'

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling told BBC Scotland that the computer systems were being worked on overnight when the problem occurred.

Mr Darling said: "They were carrying out testing overnight, something's gone wrong, they've now found the problem and they've now fixed it.

"Unfortunately, as anybody who flies down to London will know, you don't have to have too much of a problem before you've got huge delays building up."

David MacLachlan, 45, was left frustrated at Glasgow Airport waiting for his fight to London Heathrow.

"This is a complete shambles," he said.

"In all my years travelling to London on business I've never experienced anything like this. I just hope it's safe to fly."


SEE ALSO:
Five year wait for control centre
03 Jun 04  |  Scotland


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