Almost 14,750 European flights faced a delay yesterday as a flight plan processing system went down. Half of the flights of Europe were delayed as the system that went down was spread continent-wide. Due to this breakdown, the half of day’s flights were affected. In France, the problem intensified due to labor stoppages.
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The system failure of ETFMS at European network manager Eurocontrol occurred on the same day when France rail workers and Air France employees were on a strike.
The system failure resulted in a loss of flight plans filed before 1026 GMT. This led to constraints on a number of departures at airports all over Europe.
Eurocontrol said “Today 29,500 flights were expected in the European network. Approximately half (14,750 ) of those could have some delay as a result of the system outage.”
The issue was identified but it took almost the whole day to get back to normal flight operations.
Eurocontrol added, “The contingency plan will be maintained for the coming few hours until we are certain that sufficient data is in the system to allow it to operate completely correctly.”
As for the safety issues and air traffic control, no problems occurred due to delay in flights. Airports all over Europe including Schiphol, Brussels, and Helsinki did give warning to the travelers about the delay.
It is pertinent to mention here that it is only the second time in 20 years that such a failure has occurred. The last one happened in 2001.
A Eurocontrol spokesman said, “We have never had anything like this before.”
According to the EU law, there is compensation given to passengers if any flight is delayed. But it is exempted in the case of delay caused by an “extraordinary circumstance” which is out of control of the airline.