What You Need to Know About the French Air Traffic Control Outage

Sep 2, 2019

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Sunday saw travel chaos throughout Europe with flight cancellations and delays affecting airlines and passengers across the continent. The issue at hand was a French air traffic control ‘computer failure’, which limited the number of flights that could enter French airspace. The delays and cancellations spilled over into neighbouring countries, including the UK.

As of Monday morning, airports across the UK appear to have recovered well with delays and cancellations back to around average levels. London Gatwick (LGW) is the only airport still suffering a number of delays, particularly with EasyJet flights, as about 60% of the airline’s routes cross French airspace. According to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, there are a couple of short (less than one-hour) delays at airports around the UK — again, EasyJet flights being the most affected.

Current estimated departure times at Gatwick Airport. (LGW)

EasyJet was forced to cancel 180 of its 2,000 scheduled flights on Sunday. British Airways said that on Sunday, its flights going to or passing over French or Spain airspace had been affected.

Because of EU261, which entitles passengers to compensation where due, affected passengers are eligible for some — though not full — coverage. Since the aforementioned delayed and cancellations are not the fault of the airline, they are not required to compensate affected passengers.

However, the airlines do owe a duty of care to passengers. Food and accommodation must be provided where necessary. In addition, if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to be rebooked on the first available flight — even if it means the airline has to pay for a more expensive ticket on a different carrier.

If you have travel to or through France on Monday, it’ll be best to check with your airline to ensure there are no ongoing delays or cancellations.

Featured image courtesy bunhill/Getty Images 

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