Half of All European Flights Delayed Due to Computer Glitch

Apr 3, 2018

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As many as 500,000 passengers flying through Europe could be delayed as the Eurocontrol, the main air traffic controller for Europe, suffered a major computer glitch Tuesday.

As a result, about half of the flights on the continent are predicted to have some sort of delay while the glitch is sorted out. The aviation organization said it would cancel 10% of European flights to help solve the issue.

The computer problem led to a failure of the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS), which regulates the flow of flights around Europe’s air space. Eurocontrol’s associated flight plan system was also affected, meaning that flight plans for planes that had not yet departed were lost.

There were nearly 29,500 flights expected through the European network, half of which would experience delays. Eurocontrol said it successfully identified that problem with the ETFMS and was working on fixing it. It estimated that normal operations would resume later Tuesday night, and it was asking carriers to refile flight plans for affected aircraft.

Brussels Airport (BRU) was among the worst affected by the system outage. It was forced to operate at a reduced capacity of only 10 departures per hour.

Eurocontrol said its air traffic control operations were not directly affected, and there were no further safety implications stemming from the system failure.

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