TRAVEL disruption could last for days after a possible inputting error by a French airline could have caused flight cancellations leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper (below) said it was the worst incident of its kind in “nearly a decade” and announced an “independent review” will be carried out.

The issue started on Monday after a technical glitch meant flight plans had to be input manually by controllers, causing more than a quarter of departures and arrivals to be axed.

Downing Street did not rule out the possibility that an inputting error by a French airline could have caused the disruption.

The National: Transport Secretary Mark Harper

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There’s going to be, think you’ll know that there’s going to be an investigation by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and a report shared with Government.

“I think [Transport Secretary] Mark Harper confirmed this morning he’ll be getting that in days.

READ MORE: More Scots flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow cancelled

“I’m not going to pre-empt that. I’ve seen, obviously, various bits of speculation, but I’m not going to pre-empt the work that needs to be done.”

But he added that experts had confirmed it was a “technical issue, not a cybersecurity incident”.

Asked if officials would speak to counterparts across the English Channel, the spokesman said “you would expect them to be speaking regularly” with other countries “but I’m not aware of any specific conversations with French counterparts”.

READ MORE: easyJet cancelled flights: Compensation and refund

National Air Traffic Services (Nats), the country’s leading provider of ATC, said at 3.15pm on Monday it had “identified and remedied” the technical issue affecting its systems and it was working with airlines and airports to support affected flights.

Juliet Kennedy, operations director at Nats, said the issue meant the automatic system that provides controllers with details of every aircraft and its route stopped working.

She added: “To manage safety, we had to limit the number of flights we could manage.”

Passengers stuck in the UK and abroad described their frustration, as some had no idea when or how they would get to their destination.

Rory Dollard, 40, cricket correspondent for the PA news agency, was stuck at Bergerac Dordogne Perigord airport in France and was told it may take up to six days before he and his family – his wife Joanne, 40, and children Emily, 10, and Arthur, eight – could return home to Skipton, North Yorkshire.

Lyudmila Hristova, 57, said her and her husband’s plans to attend her niece’s wedding in Bulgaria were “ruined” after BA cancelled their 2pm flight from Heathrow to Sofia.

And a German couple were considering returning home by train after their flight from London to Stuttgart was cancelled.

Myria Mebold, 36, also said that British Airways “didn’t know anything at all” when she and her husband asked about the situation and their flight.

Major UK airlines such as Tui and BA warned of “significant delays” for passengers amid changes to schedules.

Passengers were urged by airlines to check before they leave for the airport as their flight times may have changed.