- Written by Dearvale Jordan
- bbc news
Temporary restrictions on the number of aircraft that can take off and land at Heathrow have been lifted after a day of delays and cancellations.
The National Air Traffic Administration said “absence of staff and strong winds” led to the introduction of the restrictions.
Heathrow Airport warned of “minor” changes to schedules but did not say how many flights would be affected.
It could not confirm whether there would be any further delays this evening and said passengers should check with their airline.
Earlier, British Airways confirmed it had made “some adjustments to short-haul schedules”.
There are typically around 175 short-haul BA flights landing at Heathrow Airport each day.
Travelers took to X (formerly Twitter) to vent their frustrations, with some worried about missing their connecting flight to another destination. Some reportedly faced delays of several hours.
NATS has been criticized in recent months for causing chaos at UK airports. In late August, a technical failure in Britain’s air traffic control system caused thousands of flights to be canceled or grounded.
Just over two weeks later, flights at Gatwick Airport were suddenly canceled, delayed or diverted due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.
NATS announced on Sunday that in addition to strong winds, there was an “absentee absence of staff within the tower.”
A spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Heathrow Airport and airlines to minimize disruption. Passengers should check with their airline about the status of their flight.”
“These types of restrictions are only in place to ensure your safety, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
BA said: “We have contacted affected customers to apologize and offer them the option of rebooking or a full refund.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We want to reassure our passengers that our colleagues are working closely with airlines and air traffic control partners to get passengers on their journeys as quickly and safely as possible.”
“Passengers are advised to check with their airline for the latest information.”