(Reuters) - Britain will establish an independent inquiry into a technical failure at an air traffic control center which caused widespread disruption to flights in and out of London last week.

The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement Monday they would appoint a chairman and a number of experts to study the causes and responses, in a bid to try to avoid future incidents.

Hundreds of flights to and from London were disrupted on Friday causing knock-on effects to air travel across Europe, in a technical failure which a senior MP called "simply unacceptable."

It was the second such incident in just over a year to hit the National Air Traffic Service's hub at Swanwick in southern England, one of NATS's two main centres.

Heathrow, London's main airport, is a major hub for international transfers, meaning the disruption was felt far beyond Britain.