Heathrow Airport faced a day of challenges as temporary restrictions on landing and takeoff were imposed and subsequently lifted by the UK’s air traffic services provider, NATS. These restrictions were prompted by a combination of staff absences and strong winds.
While Heathrow Airport warned of “minor” adjustments to flight schedules, the exact number of affected journeys remained undisclosed. Passengers were advised to stay in touch with their respective airlines for updates.
British Airways acknowledged that they had made “some adjustments to our short-haul schedule.” Typically, there are about 175 short-haul BA flights arriving at Heathrow daily.
Frustration among travelers mounted, as some worried about missing connecting flights to other destinations, and others faced extended delays, leading to complaints on social media.
NATS has faced criticism in recent months for disruptions at various UK airports. In late August, the UK’s air traffic control systems experienced a technical failure, resulting in thousands of canceled or disrupted flights. Just over two weeks later, Gatwick Airport witnessed flight cancellations, delays, and diversions due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.
NATS attributed the latest issues at Heathrow to “short notice staff absence in the tower” and strong winds. They emphasized that such restrictions are enforced to prioritize safety and apologized for any inconvenience caused.
British Airways reached out to affected customers, offering apologies and options for rebooking or full refunds.
Heathrow Airport assured passengers that they were working closely with airlines and air traffic control partners to minimize disruptions and encouraged passengers to stay updated by checking with their airlines for the latest information.