London's Gatwick Airport just suffered a complete failure of its air traffic control systems

Gatwick AirportTim Ireland/Associated Press

A major air traffic control systems failure led to London's Gatwick airport implementing a complete ground stop on Wednesday evening.

At around 5:45 p.m. London time, the airport announced via Twitter that it was suspending all flights as it worked to resolve the issue. A 6 p.m. local time, an update from the airport stated that flights would continue to be suspended as Gatwick staff worked with vendor ANS to bring air traffic control back online.

Numerous inbound flights that were already in the air when the failure occurred were seen diverting to other nearby airports in cities such as Birmingham and Brighton, based on data shown by flight tracking software FlightRadar24.

Later flights were shown to be delayed, including departing flights.

In a statement issued at 6 p.m. local time, Gatwick said:

Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick's control tower, flights are currently suspended. We are working with ANS, our air traffic control provider, to rectify this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise and passengers should check with their airline directly or on our website flights page for the latest information on their flight.

Gatwick is the UK's second-busiest airport, and the eighth busiest in Europe.

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