London Airspace Restricted After Power Failure at Heathrow International Airport

Massive delays and cancellations after planes stopped from landing and taking off at world's 3rd largest airport.
26:22 | 12/12/14

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Transcript for London Airspace Restricted After Power Failure at Heathrow International Airport
Look when I'm down Cutler in New York world's third largest airport. Shut down Heathrow airport in London closed because of power troubles. London airspace is currently open but eighty is restricted joining right now on this breaking news situation is ABC's llama Hostin from our bureau in London. And lot of what do we now. And get off to need to UW can imagine if your travel right now just what kind of a day you'll having most aptly details expression if you're hoping. To arrived here Matt one of the apple in the U case intonation is slowly coming into us as trickling in but here's what we know so far. Eight technical problem apps be at traffic control center that's and they act traffic control center that. Controls essentially controls or have a UK acts base had shut down but as you said. In your intro. We on to stands at that S space has reopened but limited's. We understand that some flights are arriving but it's no way nail. At the number that. One would expect. On any average day now we're talking about at what's hidden include London's Heathrow apple for example which is. One of the busiest apple and the world we understand that not shut down until 19100 local time that's TPM eastern. A spokesman asked London's Heathrow apple told us that's it usually. Planes how to pay some kind of a diversion plan. So in this kind of situation in this instance they would fall dot but you can imagine that does delays and disruptions. To all those travelers that are traveling today specially at this time this year. Low level I ask how far away is Gatwick airport there because I'm assuming that that might be one of the airport to some of these. Nearer flights that were coming into Heathrow might be diverted to. Well it depends on the traffic of but on a good day it's about an hour and a half outside of Central London. It's this morning at ports but still quite large at ports. But when you compared to Heathrow it is more that but yes we understand that. Some of the planes some of the flights that we due to land on mounting butts that Austin bid delays but you know this is. This is that they agent disruption all on a day like Friday for example when you have people flying in. From business trip so people flying out there were people tweeting that that just sitting on the Tom Mack on the runway not knowing what's happening. So it's it's just and very chaotic. Situation. At old at the apple seen in the United Kingdom. And I know that it's a breaking situation right now in a lot of the information might not be available to its just right yet. Just as the airport itself is trying to get a handle on what's exactly happening there do we have any idea about the number of flights to that might be affected in this me. Presuming it's there if Friday night so obviously for those that either looking to get away for the weekend or to start over an early holiday I'm guessing that a Friday night at a at an airport in London is a pretty busy place to be. Now I think you're apps that you right we don't have those numbers yet but ice I think yes you can definitely. Go with that gas because you know I like you said there will be people who. They're trying to get out for the weekend dual old you know trying to start at long holiday. So this destruction I can tell you that a lauded the networks here are breaking. With this it's a very big story. Here don't any in the UK but also Europe and people who want to make transatlantic flights to the US for example. But what we do you know is he at traffic control center the main air traffic control center did issue a statement saying they are looking into it and they'll be. Handing out inflammation. When it's available but that they came to this technical problem and will be able to hopefully resolve but as soon as possible say they are looking into because they do you realize. This which cool is a major disruptions the destruction lava to all sorts of flights. And delays to people who are hoping to either you've or behind in the UK. We're looking at a live shot over Gatwick airport right there which is technically considered in the London air space correct. Yes it is yes it is one of the I say one of the major apple seeing it in the UK it's not the largest but it is quite a Big Apple and a lot of people do use it. And as far as the actual amount of traffic that goes through Heathrow we were to seen in 2013 in fact about four to 60000 passengers made their way. Through that airport and just daily average was about 12100 flights so. It's it's significant. Hub. For the world frankly aping the third largest. I know what whenever we see any kind of yeah movement or any kind of a disruption at any kind of an airport you know initially is the first thought of what's the cause of all of this we don't hear any kind of movement or any kind of discussion at this point. For a cause other on the fact there are power troubles with this one particular. Control tower. Yes and you took the what's right out of my mouth it is at need to hot it is one of the busiest apple in the world I mean we're talking about. Millions of people who use it all the time we are not being told anything a pulp from that it is a technical problem. It's a technical problem not the main at traffic control center which as I said. It's controls. All of UKS base. Now eight hatch shut down or live you can ask what space how to shut down. But we do you understand that it is open but it is restricted so that all only a few. Planes at the moment this could to a change of course but there are few planes that are mounting some of the at ports here. And from what we were seen that from some of these earlier announces in fact that some of the flights that may have been headed towards Heathrow or towards Gatwick. May in fact be diverted. Two other airports as you pointed out Lama that every flight has some kind of a diversion plan and those that may have been a little further away from either of those two airports. May either be being held at their originating airport or move somewhere else. And it seems as if from what we're getting from these early reports that while there is restricted movements and restricted flights coming in. We're looking at some early reports and in fact those of the flights that were very close to Heathrow and to Gatwick. Potentially maybe some someone from air traffic controller is able to visually land some of those planes coming in but clearly a major destruction there when you have this coming in on Friday. And you know Lally and you really you can't emphasize enough the importance of what this is for air travel some of the most popular destinations that come out of Heathrow. Our two New York's JFK to Dubai to Dublin to Franklin to Amsterdam so. This presumably in this very early hour is likely to have a trickle effect traveler across the world. Yet it well and if the statement that was released by ad the ad traffic and tolls on into the main net traffic control centers anything to go by that. You know at traffic who as space while that will open all you can ask base will open it 19107. PM local time that's abouts. Two hours with just under two I was a way you can imagine what kind of a knock on effect that the trick and the fact like you said. That we'll hop on the order of those passengers. And I think one word that everybody is using is delays in expect delays I guess expect a lot of chaos with those at ports as well with people. Not really doing what's going on all waiting until they receive inflammation and inflammation slowly trickling to them. It must be just nine that every day for that but I think is you. What you sent those. Flights that wet a little father way we'll probably eat a dog but it's a more house. Because they have a plan that has this that he threw a spokesman. Told us which they will obesity stick to and they will put into effect went a situation like this happens because that's really. The enemy's scenario that is possible at this point. And they were probably getting information from the at traffic control center not not to come anyway and they had. UK as space because at they're they have what they went eighty wet for them to lounge all the apple it's. Have been closed and Andy some of them a law or a you know six accepting. Planes and some planes on mounting but not you know not all of them. And so that is gonna colas and Lowell major delays and disruptions and I think. That's Reidy at the points that a lot of the networks here at trying to put across it just expect a lot of chaos. And a lot of Cassidy and fortunately this situation like this only kind of emphasizes. Just exactly how the network in the intricacies of the relationship between these airports and sometimes some of these. You know regional hubs can have and the rest of the world I noticed a couple of months back when there was that regional calls that are. In Chicago in Illinois that was disrupted and that cost a serious. Backlog for a lot of travelers or happening there we're just making their way across the country. And it affected flights that weren't just coming in Chicago O'Hare but really flying anywhere. You know that were flying over the midwest because of the fact that they were trying to catch up from all of those passenger backlogs to get them on different flights in the different airports. And and it's a couple of days. Again put into context that was original cost there it's a little different than obviously Heathrow airport but when you are talking about a large space. Like London's airspace being restricted right now with only a couple of flights a handful of slightly coming in and out. It really that is kind of you know put into light that in fact everyone is probably on notice there whether or not it is JFK whether is Dublin. On the certainly every when being impacted by this. Have we have any idea at this point and I got an a because it's such a Britain's situation things are still fluid and and not a lot of materials known point. Have have we have any idea than four wrong there they holding a briefing any kind of an update on what exactly caused this this technical problem. We don't at this points and packed pretty it's it's it's just take a technical problem it's it's laughing. More sinister I think that the points is that people will get to that destination but that just will be delays and and you know it depends. We don't know how long that's going to take. But what we do know is that the F traffic control center. Is updating. Updating passengers. And Oxford media. By putting out statements on that web site so we've been really following not to and going on while those saying but. Like I said at this point what we know is that it is a technical problem that has schools. Or that UK asked based shot down but. As a consequence since then. We know that some. Have UKS space has a movement however it is restricted. Okay. I want to listen as we're gonna continue to watch the situation develop I want to dive in just for a bit the BBC is covering this as well. Potential with some more details on what exactly is happening in this London airspace for close and then. We can to minimize any impact. Endeavor to keep our customers informed of the status of their flight. But we do urge anyone with a flight booking to check BA dot com before leaving for the airport. And it goes on to say if you do not wish to travel from Heathrow Gatwick or London city this evening we are offering out customers the opportunity to rebook their flight. To a later date or a full refund which fits in with what he was saying a moment ago. Yet what what they're trying to do here is obscene manages many people as they possibly can out of the equation because. If re ally that he thrived on it BC Friday. And you would get up ballots. 25000 people flying in and out at the peak times. I'm clearly if you can persuade some place to stay and even bother trying to get to the airport then that's going to be and can't teach teach them. Of course many people have. More complicated kidneys than that they have very pressing needs to travel and satellite accidentally sympathize with people who just think. I'm gonna get to the airport I'm just gonna wait until they put me on an act profit Tim unfortunately that can actually adds to the appropriate by. Adding to the congestion and certainly attend the fight he would even be an alleyway near the departure lounge until. They you have about it boarding costs Torre pay an impending flight. But interestingly over the course of the day people might have been watching our correspondent economy was reporting on all the news from stole mold for us he's just treated us from a Belfast City airport because he's trying to get back to he threw a cup plus three. Well not only get a he was told you're not going anywhere but now he's been told he'll getting in ten minutes pop so that's how can figs hitting Bubba. And that's marvelous that that I L recovery but let's assume that we've had may be in nineteen minutes of and destruction. Take and that bat I'm afraid he's talked to that the masses. That's without. 200. Flights. Effectively work that would have time and clearly they need to there that they go passengers only needs to be. Moved around you've got crew after position so its commitment and it's great that things seem to be happening again but its canopy. A little messy and it makes it people continue into tomorrow for example there will be cancellations council of the UK to night. Which would be due to come back for various bases in the morning. That's going coming to Heathrow as we tool could come we can bring another voice in an aviation expert shall method. Is on the line shown good evening thank you for coming all of just your assessment really of of how things stent and how we've got to this. Well I'm just looking at truck right out the web and send them. You said and it prompted departed from Gatwick that's on its way to also. And BA got out of Heathrow just dialogue they wait to North America some lyrical but the web the tenuous somewhere. Are also sold at least one of their planes overflying the area. On his way from. Unique to Boston. So let me that he is well within safe flight information region but was apparently still allowed to continue. To build the basis that there. Aircraft are already have orbit and heading true of not being stopped development. Do you sense a mean I've read that tweet from Aberdeen airport about ten minutes ago do you do you sense that things might be. Beginning to improve a little. Well yes. A report from shut wake that's the Oceanic. Area that that that state. But there's the people that control applauds across the Atlantic. Suggesting that restrictions were being lifted but I have to say there is that consummation of that's. I mean I think. I'm guessing here of course we will guessing. But when they said 7 o'clock I imagine that was a sort of backed covering think that was to Munich just to give them plenty of time. If you'd like. So it is intended it if they can get it running against the folded arms shall they will. I'm just a word on how something like this can happen I think it will. Puzzle people in this day and age that something upon which so many people depend. Can go wrong in these kinds of circumstances. How can that be in the year 2040. I think that's a very good question. Unit the control center it's what they can Berkshire's them. It's very remote. It's only a few years so that was in their purpose designed have been interpreting proposals a lot of places and moved to that's. I've been done that I have a look at it he did it's a bit surprising to me that I'm. It if it's something as simple as a profit that they don't have in Egypt backup generators such bringing in supplies. He did say perhaps it's. That traded phrase of the computer update going roles. You know people update systems and it certainly doesn't work already kind of wouldn't expect them to be doing that's what a busy Friday not for Christmas so yes I agree with you. We didn't really expect these things to happen. I should perhaps failed the other out of bed that in that they don't happen very often nothing the last time the senate probably. About the Erica. Undated of for the rest of the times the other 360 full days. Definitely sort of whatever it is 7000. Movement today or whatever I'm so you know that these things a lot but Cobb. I mean I'm just reading a statement from nets and this might confirm that the best and use that we were initially reporting courtesy of Aberdeen airport. This is net saying as I've now quote following a technical failure at sonic the system has been restored. A we're in the process of returning to normal operations we apologize for any delays and the inconvenience this may have caused and then they oversee. Guide people towards their web site that sounds a little more promising doesn't it. It doesn't date yes I'm I'm not seeing the sentencing. Patent the have that the European the Euro control site was saying something. Sent similar so that the this major speech. A bit of the store with a two coupled of course he spoke with the particularly with Heathrow which operates a legendary. Aren't put something percent of capacity all the time something like this and particularly on a Friday evening. Does this really has the potential to quote the law. Long term following all of effects even though they much of fixed feed the original technical. Which means some fairly searching questions will be offs about it in the coming hours and days I see. What would hopes obits I'm not sure under. OK that was the BBC getting the latest on the situation coming Avalon and airspace where air trapped there has been restricted. Because at this point it appears there are some have a power failure a troubled power trouble. At the Stanwyck air traffic control center it's about three hours away from London. But it obviously has a major impact on the track that's coming and then on of the world's third largest airport which is Heathrow. Primarily affecting air traffic there. They are are no flights landing there at Heathrow although we have seen some flights taking off 15 headed to the United States. For more on the story about want to bring any BC's David currently from our Washington bureau and David talk a little bit about the effects what's exactly happening in and how this might be. Triggering some other delays and maybe a cancellations are around the world. That's it the whole system is connected dance so when something happens like this it does ripple throughout the entire system that we could see some delays here in the US. I I'm just joining his I have a thorough coverage of the last 2030 minutes but remember the fire at Chicago ATC here a few months ago and how that. Cause significant trouble here in the US this is very similar causes different. But when you lose a computer system. That allows you to get all these flight plans and and set up these aircraft come in to an airport at a specific time. Within a specific time frame and you lose that. That's the problem it doesn't mean you can't still have planes coming in going there are other ways to keep track of these aircraft you just can't keep it at the pace that the computers allow you to do. So with this power outage and the loss the computer that's what you saw basically a ground truck stop the restricted. Number of aircraft coming in now. The good news is they seem to get their computers back up and even though it'll take them a couple of hours to get this through their system. Yes there are aircraft that you know somebody's on a on the connecting flight is gonna miss connecting flight here in the US that they are coming. London New York to Denver they may not get there all the way tonight because it couldn't get out of he thrown time. And we're just kind of bouncing around from various live pictures that we've been seeing there is one of her Gatwick airport the other over in London's Heathrow airport as well. And David you're talking about the fact when that read when that a fire took place that regional center there it was really is that the responsibility kind of got shifted on to some of the other regional centers as well possibly there airport to build a handle. Kind of those backlogs of passengers and flights. Right and they were able to do the work around in Chicago that went on for ten days it's rare that first day. We so that big circle in the center of the country that had no aircraft because all the aircraft for being forced to go around that airspace because they didn't have. The ability to control they lost everything. In Chicago they lost their radars they law they lost you know all control here it's one. Computer system IO they have lost their radars they've lost a lot of other communication equipment that Chicago loss but I is just using it as an analogy of these are the kind of problems when you lose this technology. You can go back to the old school way of bringing planes in and out of airports. You're just not gonna bring as many in and out Andrea able to you with all that technical ability and help an. And then because that obviously other airports and other regional centers also have to be notified as well to be able to understand in fact that you're not going to be able to move that those that number of planes you might normally do and on a regular time. A bomb. The long term effects though let's say I think at this point they're saying in that system was down for about ninety minutes which you know an hour and a half certainly in a very busy hub like Heathrow. Can mean a lot of flights several hundred flights there what about long term effects as far as being able to catch up you reap what it took ten days. For their regional senator. Yet it is different this is difference that you have a losses system the system itself is not down. I mean what we had Chicago was basically. Arson and wires cut and whatnot this was a power utters the systems coming back up now. You it will take awhile to get all these flights that have been told to stay on the ground someplace maybe on the continent that couldn't come in two Great Britain. It'll take awhile to get them in and then when you have people that have those connections yes it can take up to 24 hours or war. To cut a right the system and get all this. Set but it. At this point with the computer system back up it hate it. That number of delays a ritzy here in the US it diminish significantly because they're back up and get things start run the right way. Right and listen and now it's very early in a note that this has all been a very breaking situation we have any idea at this point about how many flights. May have been disrupted from SO is that still being. Had related you know there there are several web sites that take track keep track of that I've not looked lately to see how many have been affected and how many here in the US have been affected. I'm but you know don't don't let's not forget that. The US to London route is one that's heavily used from many cities in the United States so. You can expect some minutes to ripple through the entire country throughout the data. It tell me a little bit about David them with something like this happens I mean every flight has some kind of a back up plan or provisional plan is to case something like this happens. Oh absolutely I mean these aircraft here enough fuel that if they have to divert go someplace else they can do that. I would be surprised that I don't know this to be a fact that some of the aircraft that may have been in the air or on their way. Turned around and went back to the airports that they'd just taken off from hell or diverted to other airports and put the aircraft down. You know we haven't heard any kind of situations and delays and cancellations for folks are trying to get from point a to point B and that's the good news. ABC's llama Hostin is at our bureau in London and Lama I don't know if you've been here is the data we're talking about that that odds that we had here in the United States a couple of months back. And the impact that it had an estate has been putting out clearly different as far as the system going down into an in a Tutu to how we're being. Disrupted as well. But has there been any kind of discussion about you know what in fact this may be pointing for any kind of security or safety concerns about the system right now that's operating London's air space. Well I can update you beak and it just shows you how quickly. In the situation is developing and changing because. The and naps as it's now a national ad traffic control bully has issued a statement saying that the system. Has been restored they are in the process of returning to normal operations and it sounds like they also that he recovering and yesterday. Going back to normal but is we were listening to the BBC one pass and saying. Not. On any given Friday some 25000. People are going in and out of he throws you can imagine even though the system. Is back cop there is going to be a knock on effect. And that will be delays as well past he says quote they're brought. And messy situation that is most likely going to continue into two Morris just to update you again the system. Has been restored but the delays all BC will go along. And till will the flights that left. Due to land and all the flights at that was scheduled to land. Will do so and all the passages will go live at their destinations whether the have a connection on Nall but the system has been stored. That is some good news and for a lot of travelers that are trying to head out on this Friday and I there ABC's llama Hassan and our London bureau Lama thank you for that. And of course as we've been watching some of the flights that have been making their way to and from. The Heathrow airport and also Gatwick airport all operating on the London air space that has spent. Somewhat restricted over the past about ninety minutes or so since there was a power destruction. And in your right power station. That control some of the systems that. Gets funneled into either one of those airports. As we just for their from llamas thing in fact that the system is back up and running and now we are expected to see those flights. Soon to resume you can keep up to date with the store in real time by dominant ABC news App Store in the story for exclusive updates ago. Renowned damn that's there in New York.

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