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Staff absence and strong winds cause Heathrow flight disruption

People waiting at the International arrivals exit in Heathrow Airport

Heathrow passengers have faced delays and cancellations due to temporary flight restrictions and staff shortages.

The UK's air traffic services provider, NATS, lifted the restrictions after acknowledging that "staff absence and strong winds" had led to the changes.

Heathrow Airport didn’t specify the number of affected journeys. 

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Passengers were advised to check with their respective airlines for the latest information.

British Airways confirmed making "some adjustments to our short-haul schedule," impacting around 175 daily flights landing at Heathrow. 

Frustrated travellers took to social media platforms, expressing concerns about potential missed connections and reporting hours-long delays.

NATS, facing recent criticism for disruptions at UK airports, attributed the issues at Heathrow to "short notice staff absence in the tower" along with strong winds. 

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The organisation said it would minimise disruptions, working closely with Heathrow Airport and airlines to address the situation.

NATS has faced challenges recently, with thousands of flights cancellations and disruptions in late August.

It’s primarily due to a technical failure in the UK's air traffic control systems. 

Subsequently, Gatwick experienced cancellations, delays, and diversions due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.

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A spokesperson said: "We are working hard to minimise disruption, working closely with Heathrow airport and airlines. Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.

"Restrictions of this sort are only ever applied to ensure safety and we apologise for any inconvenience caused."

British Airways apologised to affected customers, offering rebooking options or full refunds.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "We want to reassure passengers that our colleagues are working in close collaboration with our airline and air traffic control partners to get them safely on their journeys as quickly as possible.

"We encourage passengers to check with their airline for the latest information."

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