Feeds

UK air traffic control computer fails

Back up now, but expect delays

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Passengers at British airports face long delays today after the computer system running air traffic control failed early this morning. Flights leaving the UK were grounded so controllers could concentrate on safely landing incoming planes. Heathrow, Gatwick and some regional airports were affected.

National Air Traffic Services, which runs British air traffic control, was unable to comment at press time. According to a professional pilots' bulletin board the problem was with the Host Computer System at West Drayton. It was shut down overnight for an upgrade and failed when it was rebooted.

The £623m computer system from Lockheed Martin has been perhaps the ultimate hopeless government IT project. Originally due for delivery in 1996 it has been plagued by problems and delays. The software needed lengthy debugging and the text on the screens was too small to be readable. Computer Weekly, which follows NATs obsessively, got hold of a safety report showing record numbers of "overloads" for air traffic controllers after they moved into the new centre. In January of this year NATS upgraded software after a near miss involving a Delta Airlines plane and a Virgin Atlantic jumbo.

The last time the system went down was in May 2002. ®

Related stories

UK flights grounded following computer glitch
Tiny text threatens air safety
Computer failure poleaxes UK air traffic

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.