Thousands of passengers who missed their flights last week due to a computer glitch at Britain's air traffic control centre will not receive any compensation, Travel Weekly reports.
The system fault happened on Friday 12 December, causing an entire shut down of London airspace for almost 40 minutes. Over 80 flights were grounded or cancelled and dozens more delayed, causing passengers much stress and expense.
But while it was the responsibility of carriers to look after passengers in the terminal, they were not liable to offer any financial compensation for the event. A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority told The Times that it's "something the airlines can't do anything about".
The failure affected at least 10,000 passengers and continued to disrupt flights well into the weekend - not only at Gatwick and Heathrow, but other UK airports too, stretching as far as Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Despite previous calls for better contingency plans during such events, passengers felt that they were not adequately informed about the disruption as it unfolded. Air traffic control company Nats has said it was not liable for reimbursing passengers, although it was a glitch in its software caused the disturbance.
Nat's chief executive of air traffic control, Richard Deakin, will meet with MPs alongside transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, to discuss the incident. EU legislation rules that passengers may receive up to €600 in the case of a cancelled flight - however, there is an exception in circumstances that are considered "extraordinary". While some airlines offered passengers overnight accommodation, or the chance to have cancelled flights refunded, officials have said the incident was out of the airlines' control, and they would not be reimbursing passengers.
McLoughlin has stated that disruption on this scale is "simply unacceptable". He added: "I have asked Nats for a full explanation. I also want to know what steps will be taken to prevent this happening again."