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UK Air Traffic Control Breaks Down

Following a recent move to new premises NATS had to halt some flights yesterday...

Flights using London airports or entering British airspace were halted after the UK's new air traffic control system broke down following a computer failure.

All London departures and some in bound flights were delayed following ?problems? at National Air Traffic Services Ltd.'s new Swanwick control center in Hampshire, England, after the flight data processing computer went down at NATS's West Drayton center, in West London, it said.

NATS switched over to Swanwick on January 27th. The controller of British commercial airspace has been run by the private sector since last year and is facing a revenue shortfall as fees charged to airlines diminish following a decline in air traffic after the September 11th attacks.

?We delayed UK departures and some short haul in bounds for about 30 minutes,? said NATS spokesman Richard Wright. ?We are working to restore the full operational service as soon as possible. The failure at West Drayton is causing problems for Swanwick.?