EXCLUSIVE We had to abandon our £27,000 private jet flight to Cannes for our daughter’s eighth birthday because of UK air traffic control chaos – now we’re going to have to spend the week in London
A family who paid £27,000 for a private jet to take their daughter to Cannes for her eighth birthday have had to cancel their plans and go home due to the air traffic control chaos affecting UK passengers.
Abby Hollingworth, 34, who lives in Chester, said her daughter was ‘disappointed’ that they weren’t able to fly to the South of France until at least tomorrow.
The family, who were waiting at Hawarden Airport, have since decided to go home as they couldn’t be ‘bothered’ to wait and they will now spend a week in London instead.
‘We were heading to Cannes for a holiday and we were told we can maybe go tomorrow. The knock on delays may mean it’s not worth it,’ Ms Hollingworth told Mail Online.
‘My husband is a pilot and flies private jets. He says it’s the first time he has ever seen this happen.
Pictured: The family who spent £27,000 on a private jet to take their daughter to Cannes for her eighth birthday
Air traffic chaos caused by ‘network failure’ meant the family cancelled their plans to travel to the South of France
Abby Hollingworth, 34, from Chester,
‘My daughter was disappointed but what’s made it easier is everyone is in the same situation.
‘We’ve turned around and headed home, we just decided we couldn’t be bothered. The reality is, nobody is going anywhere so it doesn’t really matter.’
At least 500 UK flights have been cancelled due to a ‘huge failure’ of the national air traffic control system – causing chaos for tens of thousands of holidaymakers on one of the busiest days of the year.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it is experiencing ‘technical issues’ that have forced controllers to switch from an automatic system for landing and dispatching flights to a manual one.
‘Flight plans are being input manually which means we cannot process them at the same volume, hence we have applied traffic flow restrictions,’ NATS said. A spokesman told MailOnline there was ‘nothing to suggest a cyber attack’.
The majority (78%) of flights leaving Heathrow are currently delayed, according to Flight Radar data from 1.45pm, compared to 74% at Gatwick, 81% at Manchester and 86% at Bristol.
According to analaysis carried out by Cirium, 232 flights have been cancelled departing UK airports so far today – equivalent to around 8% of all departures.
Meanwhile 271 flights have been cancelled arriving into UK airports so far today – equivalent to around 9% of all arrivals.
Britons returning from Tenerife told MailOnline they had been told to expect a wait of at least 12 hours.