Airlines are today counting the cost of chaos caused by a French air traffic control meltdown yesterday – one of the busiest flying days of the year with people returning home from summer holidays.

Delays of up to three hours were reported following the computer failure on Sunday, briefly halting all flights over France.

British Airways said flights heading to, or passing over, France and Spain had been affected.


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EasyJet was forced to cancel 180 flights out of almost 2,000 scheduled to take off on Sunday due to what was described as a “partial failure” the French air traffic control systems.

Ryanair advised passengers that there had been a “serious French ATC [air traffic control] equipment failure” early on Sunday morning.

Delays of “up to three hours are being suffered,” the airline added.

Gatwick saw 19 departures and 18 arrivals cancelled, with Luton airport reporting four cancelled easyJet flights early yesterday.

The French aviation regulator said a “computer failure” had affected control centres at about 1.30am on Sunday, and the issue was later resolved.

But aircraft were left out of position as National Air Traffic Services (Nats) worked with airlines in the UK to try to limit the level of disruption.

French authorities allowed extra aircraft to enter its air space on Sunday afternoon to try to curt down on knock-on delays.

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tw5