London Flights Face Delays as Air Traffic Controllers go Digital

By Gary Cutlack on at

Something exciting and momentous in the history of air traffic control is happening in London's air space at the moment, but no one's going to be happy about it because it might lead to passengers having to spend an extra 20 minutes in the purgatory of an Easyjet departure gate.

Believe it or not, the London Terminal Control Centre is finally moving away from using paper strips to help log flight activity to an all digital system, so it might perhaps be a good idea not to fly anywhere for a month or two if you're of the paranoid sort of persuasion when it comes to flying.

This week sees an important part of the EXCDS electronic flight strips system phased in, with NATS — the national air traffic control service — warning that flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick, plus anything using the air space to the south of London, might be delayed as the new system kicks in for this part of the sky, as fewer flights will be allowed into the air to make it easier for controllers to manage.

Once everyone's happy with how this replacement for the paper-shuffling system works, the hope is that it'll allow more planes to be rammed into the skies of the near future, with Dreamliners stacked up like Red Arrows. [Nats via The Times]