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Woman misses heart transplant check-up over delay – BBC News

  • By Rebekah Wilson & Amy Murray
  • BBC News NI

Image source, Liam McBurney/PA Media

Serena Hamilton, from Cookstown, is expected at Newcastle Freeman Hospital on Tuesday morning.

But the earliest Belfast International flight will not get her there on time.

“I had a transplant 15 months ago and these appointments are very important,” she told BBC News NI.

“Now I have to go home and try to get in contact with the clinic to tell them that I am not going to be able to make it.

“That’s a loss of an appointment not just for me, but someone else could have taken that appointment and I’m not going to be able to inform them because the clinic is closed today.”

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it has”identified and remedied the technical issue” and has apologised for the disruption caused by the fault.

The main air traffic control provider in the UK added that it was “working closely with airlines and airports” to get things running as normal again.

‘We were kept on a plane for four hours’

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle at about 15:30 BST, Ebonie McGregor-King, from Londonderry, said her flight to Belfast International was stuck on the tarmac at Alicante Airport.

The 18-year-old first boarded the plane at 11:40 BST.

“We were being told as we were boarding that it may not be until half 10 tonight until we could get going, but we’ve been kept on the flight just in case we were told that we can fly any earlier,” she said.

Image caption,

Ebonie McGregor-King says passengers on her plane in Alicante, heading to Belfast International, are very frustrated

“They’ve given us water, but if you want any food or soft drinks, or anything like that you need to pay for it.”

Ms McGregor-King said everyone on the plane is starting to get “very frustrated” and is eagerly awaiting an update about when or if they will be able to fly.

Frustration at Belfast International Airport

by Darren Marshall, BBC News NI

It is a busy bank holiday Monday here at the airport, but it’s far from normal.

Outside the main terminal some passengers are sitting on concrete bollard.

Many were due to fly this afternoon but are now waiting on lifts, each staring at their phones, checking apps for the latest information, or simply trying to find alternative transport.

Inside the building, there’s an A4 page print out stuck to a whiteboard. It lists 18 cancelled flights.

There’s a pregnant woman sitting on the floor, a toddler sleeping on their parent’s coat. Lots of people are huddled around plugs as they charge their phone.

Staff in high vis jackets offer advice to frustrated passengers.

Some people, who were here for the weekend, are trying to find new flights. Some have told me there’s no availability until Wednesday.

Others are making arrangements to get to Dublin Airport or a ferry.

Belfast City and International Airports advised passengers to keep checking the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

A significant number of EasyJet flights were cancelled at Belfast International Airport, including flights to Edinburgh, Newcastle, Paris and Birmingham.

Monday is a bank holiday for much of the UK and is one of the busiest days of the year for flights.

In a statement to BBC News NI, Dublin Airport said the technical issues are “resulting in delays and cancellations to some flights into and out of Dublin Airport”.

It advised all its passengers to check the status of their flights in advance.

Cork Airport tweeted that the technical issues were also resulting in delays and cancellations for flights in and out of the airport.

City of Derry Airport told BBC News NI there were some delays and two cancellations.

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Irish national broadcaster RTÉ have reported that several Irish athletes are facing delays in Budapest after their flight to Dublin was cancelled.

Athletics Ireland said close to 15 of its staff and some athletes who competed in the World Athletics Championships were kept on the runway at Liszt Ferenc airport today for over three hours before the flight was cancelled.

Runners Kelly McGrory, Sophie Becker, John Fitzsimons and Mark English are among those who are now considering alternative travel options.

Irish Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers has told RTE the issue affecting UK airspace was expected to cause major disruption to flights to and from Ireland.

He said there would be delays for Irish air passengers in the hours ahead.

‘No information given’

One passenger at Belfast International Airport who was due to head to France at 16:00 BST told BBC News NI: “We haven’t been informed of what’s been happening – no information so far.”

However, according to the departure board in the airport, her flight is “on time – everything’s fine, everything’s on time and everything’s ready,” the passenger said.

Another passenger said they are considering getting the ferry because he has been given different times for his flight’s departure.

“My flight was meant to leave at 2:55 [pm] and it’s now saying in the board [in the airport] around four but then on the [airline] app it says about one or two in the morning.

“We’re considering getting the ferry, which is about eight hours. Hard to know what to do at the moment really.”

‘Panic and confusion’

Charlie Bedi, from Belfast, is stuck at London Gatwick Airport after spending the weekend at the Reading Festival.

He found out his flight, which was supposed to leave at 19:20 BST, was cancelled when he got to the airport.

Image source, Charlie Bedi

Image caption,

Charlie Bedi says it is an inconvenience

He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra programme: “It just makes everything a panic and a confusion.”

Although he has some friends he can stay with while he finds alternative plans, Charlie says he’s stuck at the airport for now.

“You can’t really do anything until the app tells you so people are just sitting around and waiting.”

Read More:Woman misses heart transplant check-up over delay – BBC News