As airline passengers flying in and out of the UK have been left stranded at airports and onboard aircraft following a mass technical fault, hundreds of thousands have been warned that the current flight delays and travel chaos “could last days”.
Reports of a technical fault with the UK’s air traffic control system were reported on Monday, 28 August and although the problem was said to have been fixed around 3:15 pm, the knock-on effect it has had on scheduled flights has been enormous.
It is estimated that more than 500 flights have been cancelled or delayed by airlines operating across the UK, with countless numbers of those who have been/were set to travel this bank holiday weekend now stuck in limbo as they wait for their rescheduled flights or for alternative means of transport.
Even more concerningly, according to the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), while the network-wide technical issue is now thought to have been “identified and remedied”, they have warned that the subsequent disruption could last until later into the week.
A limited number of flights were able to operate but overall air traffic was severely restricted as engineers struggled to locate and rectify the problem, with controllers left with no other choice but to input flight plans manually.
With some prospective passengers facing up to as much as 12-hour delays or massive price hikes following the flights being outright cancelled, it’s hard to overstate just how long the disruption will last or exactly how many will have been affected.
Meanwhile, NATS has insisted they will be continuing to investigate what caused the system failure “very thoroughly”. The technical fault is said to have lasted for more than four hours, only causing further chaos in airports and on planes as people were informed they would be stuck there for the time being.
Speaking to ITV News, stranded passenger Paul Gibson described the situation at Manchester Airport as “chaos”, detailing how he and the other people at his gate” got very little information and then eventually found out the flights had been cancelled by going to the board and everything just disappeared.”
BBC Sports reporter Gabby Logan was one of several who took to social media to explain how she had been stuck on a plane along the runway of Budapest airport for several hours after covering this year’s World Athletics Championships, writing: “After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.”
Despite later posting an update and crediting British Airways for their communication and resolving the situation, she then shared a more recent message on X which simply read: “I spoke too soon”.
Naturally, many are now wondering what their rights are surrounding cancelled/rescheduled flights, with UK law stating that airlines must give passengers the option to choose another flight or provide a full refund for any part of the ticket not used, as well as help arrange alternative means of transport.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), an airline must also provide a reasonable amount of food, drink and sometimes accommodation in the case of a “significant delay” — i.e. over two hours for a short-haul flight of under 1,500km, more than three hours for a medium-haul flight (up to 3,500km) and in excess of four hours for long-haul journeys.
The Irish star, who just landed his first UK number one album, wants to make customers ‘feel like a big deal’, apparently.
And seeing as he shot to fame with his viral flashmob stunts, he seems like a good choice to be popping up from behind Amazon lockers as people pick up their online shop.
Cian Ducrot comments: “My flash mob performances are all about spreading joy and music, and I loved helping shoppers feel like a big deal at the Amazon Lockers.”
Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Day sales event, which is taking place on 10 and 11 October 2023, will also see the brand hide hundreds of items in Amazon Lockers around the UK.
Over those two days, Prime members who are collecting shopping will be given the opportunity to pick a code, which will open a locker containing a free item to take away.
Surprise locker locations will be in London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belfast, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester on 10 and 11 October.
The giveaway runs alongside a Prime member exclusive shopping event, featuring deals on everything Prime members need for Autumn, from making an early start to festive shopping, to stocking up on seasonal essentials.
Council Tax in Manchester could be raised to support the city’s ‘poorest households’
Manchester City Council has laid out plans to potentially raise residents’ Council Tax to help support the “poorest households” in the city.
Councillors are proposing that, under the city’s current Council Tax Support scheme, the amount owed by a household is reduced by up to 100% for pension-age residents with the lowest incomes, and up to 82.5% for working-age residents with the lowest incomes from April 2024 – with the maximum reduction for working-age residents increased by 2.5% to 85%.
This means the maximum that those eligible for support would have to pay is just 15% of the bill, according to Manchester City Council.
At the same time, it’s being proposed that rules allowing reductions to be backdated, in instances where someone “has a good reason not to have claimed sooner”, are extended to allow up to a year’s back payments, rather than up to six months as is currently the case.
With the proposals all laid out, a consultation has been opened and residents living in the Manchester borough are now being asked for their views.
The Council Tax Support scheme currently provides around one fifth of Manchester households with help paying their Council Tax, but it’s estimated that these proposed changes would cost the Council around £770,000 in 2024/25.
This proposed raising of Council Tax also comes after the Council revealed earlier last month that £50 million in funding will go towards upgrading and improving social housing in Manchester over the next two years – with thousands of tenants living in social housing and Council-owned residential complexes across the city and wider borough set to benefit.
Residents in these properties are set receive what is being dubbed “transformational investment” to their homes before 2026.
“We are acutely aware that some residents are really struggling due to cost of living pressures,” admitted Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, who is the Executive Member for Finance at Manchester City Council on the proposals, “and this is why we’ve already introduced a range of measures to help people access food, advice and support.
“As part of this wider response, we want to go even further to help the poorest households in Manchester with their Council Tax, and that’s what these proposals are all about.
“We’re keen to hear your views on what we’re suggesting before we make a final decision.”