All flights at Gatwick Airport suspended for hours due to air-traffic control breakdown

Passengers are facing delays of several hours after all flights at Gatwick Airport were suspended due to an ‘air-traffic control breakdown’ this afternoon.     

A ‘gold emergency’ was declared at around 6pm following the air-traffic control breakdown, bringing Britain’s second-busiest airport to a grinding halt.

Disgruntled passengers have described the situation as a ‘nightmare’ with reports of flights heading to Gatwick also suspended or diverted.   

Departure boards inside the airport showed all upcoming flights delayed, some by up to three or four hours – with reports of passengers also stuck on the runway.

Others are now facing a long journey home, as several flights were diverted to other airports around the country including Bristol. 

It comes at the beginning of the summer rush, with many independent schools already broken up for the holiday. 

The issue was reported at around 5.45pm today, bringing Britain's second-busiest airport to a grinding halt

The issue was reported at around 5.45pm today, bringing Britain's second-busiest airport to a grinding halt

The issue was reported at around 5.45pm today, bringing Britain’s second-busiest airport to a grinding halt

Passengers reported growing queues at Gatwick (pictured) after flights were suspended at around 6pm this evening

Passengers reported growing queues at Gatwick (pictured) after flights were suspended at around 6pm this evening

Passengers reported growing queues at Gatwick (pictured) after flights were suspended at around 6pm this evening

Another passenger, Bart Scheffer, wrote on Twitter: 'At least the pilot of Easy Jet EZY8879 takes the time to inform passengers about the problems with the flight control system @Gatwick_Airport. Compliments.'

Another passenger, Bart Scheffer, wrote on Twitter: 'At least the pilot of Easy Jet EZY8879 takes the time to inform passengers about the problems with the flight control system @Gatwick_Airport. Compliments.'

Another passenger, Bart Scheffer, wrote on Twitter: ‘At least the pilot of Easy Jet EZY8879 takes the time to inform passengers about the problems with the flight control system @Gatwick_Airport. Compliments.’

Departure boards at the airport are currently warning of delays of around two to three hours, with dozens of passengers currently stranded inside planes

Departure boards at the airport are currently warning of delays of around two to three hours, with dozens of passengers currently stranded inside planes

Departure boards at the airport are currently warning of delays of around two to three hours, with dozens of passengers currently stranded inside planes

James Conway, who was due to be arriving in Glasgow at 7pm, shared a picture of the runway at Gatwick airport. He wrote: 'Due to arrive in Glasgow at approx 7pm but the view from my window seems strangely familiar'

James Conway, who was due to be arriving in Glasgow at 7pm, shared a picture of the runway at Gatwick airport. He wrote: 'Due to arrive in Glasgow at approx 7pm but the view from my window seems strangely familiar'

Jacqui Yule wrote on TwitteR: 'Were the black clouds an omen? Sitting on EZY886 from Glasgow to Gatwick - looks like we could be here a while as all flights into Gatwick are suspended until at least 9pm.'

Jacqui Yule wrote on TwitteR: 'Were the black clouds an omen? Sitting on EZY886 from Glasgow to Gatwick - looks like we could be here a while as all flights into Gatwick are suspended until at least 9pm.'

James Conway, who was due to be arriving in Glasgow at 7pm, shared a picture of the runway at Gatwick airport (left). He wrote: ‘Due to arrive in Glasgow at approx 7pm but the view from my window seems strangely familiar.’ Jacqui Yule also posted a picture from the runway (right)

On its Twitter page, the airport announced: 'Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick’s control tower, flights are currently suspended'

On its Twitter page, the airport announced: 'Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick’s control tower, flights are currently suspended'

On its Twitter page, the airport announced: ‘Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick’s control tower, flights are currently suspended’

One disgruntled passenger, Angus Kerr, said: ‘Just waxing lyrically how simple today has been even the children incredibly well behaved. 

‘Just through to the gate when announcement “all flights suspended” due to an air traffic computer fault! Let’s hope it’s not a long night.’ 

While another said: ‘The one time I get a middle seat at Gatwick Airport, a tower gets the hiccups and I’m stuck on the tarmac with no refreshments available.’ 

Flights have now resumed, but knock-on delays are expected with departure boards still showing lengthy delays.

The airport announced: ‘Following an earlier air traffic control systems issue, flights to and from Gatwick have now resumed. 

‘If you are travelling this evening please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport, as we return to full operations.’    

The airport earlier apologised to customers saying ‘we advise passengers to check flight info with your airline.’ 

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain of the delays. One wrote: 'The one time I get a middle seat at Gatwick Airport, a tower gets the hiccups and I’m stuck on the tarmac with no refreshments available

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain of the delays. One wrote: 'The one time I get a middle seat at Gatwick Airport, a tower gets the hiccups and I’m stuck on the tarmac with no refreshments available

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain of the delays. One wrote: ‘The one time I get a middle seat at Gatwick Airport, a tower gets the hiccups and I’m stuck on the tarmac with no refreshments available

Liz Knight felt the effects of the Gatwick flight suspension all the way in Preveza, Greece

Liz Knight felt the effects of the Gatwick flight suspension all the way in Preveza, Greece

She told MailOnline: 'We are sitting on plane at Preveza airport Greece. Waiting for an update. At least 5 hour delay'

She told MailOnline: 'We are sitting on plane at Preveza airport Greece. Waiting for an update. At least 5 hour delay'

Liz Knight felt the effects of the Gatwick flight suspension all the way in Preveza, Greece. She told MailOnline: ‘We are sitting on plane at Preveza airport Greece. Waiting for an update. At least 5 hour delay’

Passengers have been waiting on the runway while Gatwick Airport works to rectify the air-traffic control issue

Passengers have been waiting on the runway while Gatwick Airport works to rectify the air-traffic control issue

Passengers have been waiting on the runway while Gatwick Airport works to rectify the air-traffic control issue

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain about the delays (above and below)

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain about the delays (above and below)

Disgruntled passengers have been taking to Twitter to complain about the delays (above and below)

Passengers earlier took to Twitter to complain of the delays, with some angry about the amount of information issued.

James Conway, who was due to be arriving in Glasgow at 7pm, shared a picture of the runway at Gatwick airport. 

He wrote: ‘Due to arrive in Glasgow at approx 7pm but the view from my window seems strangely familiar.’ 

Another passenger, Doug Neuhofer, told MailOnline: ‘All check in at the terminal has been shut and the terminal is full we are now waiting undetermined delay.’

While another said: ‘The one time I get a middle seat at Gatwick Airport, a tower gets the hiccups and I’m stuck on the tarmac with no refreshments available.’  

Bart Scheffer, however, praised how the situation had been handled.

He said: ‘At least the pilot of Easy Jet EZY8879 takes the time to inform passengers about the problems with the flight control system Gatwick Airport. Compliments.’ 

When the issue was first announced, Gatwick Airport announced: ‘Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick’s control tower, flights are currently suspended. 

‘We are working with ANS, our air traffic control provider, to rectify this issue as quickly as possible.’  

One irate passenger tweeted British Airways and Gatwick Airport to ask why her flight appeared to have been delayed into the early hours of the morning

One irate passenger tweeted British Airways and Gatwick Airport to ask why her flight appeared to have been delayed into the early hours of the morning

One irate passenger tweeted British Airways and Gatwick Airport to ask why her flight appeared to have been delayed into the early hours of the morning

Air Navigation Solutions, a private company, has controlled plane movements at the airport since 2016.

Gatwick made headlines last December after closing its runway repeatedly due to reports of mystery drone sightings nearby, impacting nearly 140,000 passengers.

The chaos continued despite a huge police operation and the army was eventually called to bring the incident under control.

Footage of the drone at the time showed the craft hovering near the control tower, where workers were unable to film it because of a ban on mobile phones.

Gatwick staff on the ground also claimed that it appeared to be taunting them by flying low overhead and flashing its light in their direction.

It is thought the drone hid behind buildings and structures beyond the reach of military-grade counter-drone equipment brought it to end the chaos.

Police said in February that the drone ‘attacks’ could have been an ‘inside job’ by a current or former Gatwick employee who would have known about security blind spots.

Military anti-drone equipment, which can detect the flying machines and disable them by jamming radio signals, remained at the airport until March.

Gatwick and Heathrow are investing millions in their own systems to prevent future flight disruption.

Link hienalouca.com

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