UK launches independent inquiry into air traffic chaos

UK launches independent inquiry into air traffic chaos

Officials in the UK government have launched in independent inquiry into the failure of air traffic control services in the south-east of England on Friday.

National Air Traffic Services blamed a software glitch at its centre at Swanwick in Hampshire for the disruption, which delays at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Heathrow Airport also cancelled approximately 40 flights on Saturday morning before normal services resumed.

The inquiry will look at NATS’ handling of the episode and whether lessons were learned from previous failures.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will also be questioned by MPs about the incident.

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Civil Aviation Authority officials confirmed they will appoint an independent chair to lead the inquiry, which will take evidence from experts on information technology and air traffic control.

The latest incident comes a year after a telephone failure at the Hampshire control room caused flights to be disrupted, the latest in a series of technical hitches to hit the partly-privatised NATS since the Swanwick centre opened in 2002.