Millennium bug may ground travel

Companies may suspend business trips around the millennium roll-over period because of fears that the Year 2000 bug will wreak havoc on land and in the skies.

US watchdog the General Accounting Office has voiced concern about whether air traffic control system will be millennium-compliant in time. Some observers forecast fewer flights around in the run up to and immediately after 2000.

Unilever is one of the companies considering whether staff should make business trips during the period and may ask certain staff to remain in London in case internal Year 2000 problems arise. Staff in some companies are being warned that they may have problems getting back into the office after Christmas if they jet off on holiday.

Travel insurance is another area of concern. It is unlikely that travellers will be able to claim for delays, lost baggage and being stranded as a result of the date-bug, according to the Association of British Insurers.