Private jet crash knocks out airport's instrument landing system

Dec. 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A private jet crash damaged the instrument landing system at Britain's Stansted Airport, forcing delays, cancellations and diversions, the airport said.

The unavailability of the airport's landing system meant passengers flying in and out of southeast England saw disruptions to their travel plans in three of the last four days because of technical issues afflicting the air-traffic control service, the Independent reported.

Flights scheduled to land at Stansted were diverted to alternate airports from Gatwick to East Midlands.

In a statement, Stansted airport officials said an arriving Gulfstream G550 "was involved in an incident that has resulted in some damage to our [instrument landing system]. The aircraft landed safely. As a result of this incident and low visibility there have been restrictions on arriving flights."

The accident prompted a temporary downgrade of the airfield, meaning instrument landings were suspended and, because of the fog, aircraft could not land visually, the Independent said.

Flybe, Britain's largest regional airline, criticized the National Air Traffic Services over its air traffic control service, affected by technical glitches. On Saturday, Flybe said 75 percent of its flights were more than 15 minutes late because of technical failure at NATS' main control center in Swanwick.

Paul Simons, Flybe's chief commercial officer, said the situation "is totally unacceptable and meant thousands of our passengers had their travel badly disrupted."

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