Feeds

UK air traffic control computer fails

Back up now, but expect delays

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.