Gatwick Airport suspends flights for 2 hours on ATC issue

Incoming and outgoing flights at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) were suspended for about two hours July 10 because of an unspecified air traffic control (ATC) systems issue in the airport tower. The airport, 30 mi. south of London, suspended flights at just after 5 p.m. local time, announcing via Twitter that it was working with tower services provider Air Navigation Solutions (ANS) to “rectify the issue” as soon as possible. It announced at 7:10 p.m. that flights had resumed. ANS is a subsidiary of German state-owned air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS). Gatwick management in late 2015 awarded DFS a 10-year contract to provide air traffic and approach services at LGW following a tender process. ANS, which reports providing services at LGW since March 2016, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the tower systems issue. The UK’s second busiest airport after London’s Heathrow Airport, LGW serves 46 million passengers annually. Operated as a single-runway airport, it supports a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour, according to ANS. Reports of rogue drones near LGW forced the airport to close repeatedly between Dec. 19-21, 2018, resulting in more than 1,000 canceled flights. 


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