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A sunny bank holiday at last! But beware air, road and rail hitches

Dry and sunny weather is forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend (PA) (PA Wire)
Dry and sunny weather is forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend (PA) (PA Wire)

Londoners are finally looking forward to a sunny bank holiday weekend — but the half-term holiday plans for thousands of families have already been thrown into disarray.

British Airways cancelled at least 42 more flights on Friday due to the impact of an IT failure. Most of the affected flights were on short-haul routes to and from Heathrow on what was expected to be the busiest day for UK air travel since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday’s chaos was caused by planes and crew being out of position after an IT problem caused around 80 flights to be grounded on Thursday. About 16,000 passengers have been affected by the cancellations. There were also widespread delays to other flights, with some passengers unable to check in online.

British Airways said on Friday morning: “While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate today, we have cancelled some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow due to the knock-on effect of a technical issue we experienced yesterday. We’ve apologised to customers whose flights have been affected.”

Heathrow said the problem was not related to a strike by security officers at Terminal 5. Meanwhile weather forecasters said this weekend could see the hottest day of the year.

The Met Office said highs of 24C were possible in south-east Wales and around the Bristol Channel on Saturday and Sunday. London was predicted to see temperatures of 21C over the weekend before dipping to 17C on Monday.

The highest temperature of 2023 so far was recorded on Monday when Cardiff reached 23.4C.

Forecaster Simon Partridge said: “We’re slowly getting there, hints of summer. For a bank holiday weekend it’s pretty rare to be that dry and sunny I guess, so we’re not doing too bad.”

Busier than usual traffic was predicted on the roads, with journeys on some stretches of the M25 expected to take up to three times longer than normal. They include clockwise from Junction 23 for Hatfield to Junction 28 for Chelmsford, and anticlockwise towards the Dartford Crossing. The RAC said it expected “the busiest late May bank holiday since before the pandemic.”

Rail strikes will hit the second half of the school holiday week, with drivers from Aslef out on May 31 and June 3, and RMT train crews on strike on June 2.