AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT COMPANY Eurocontrol has fixed an earlier fault that led to widespread disruption at European airports.
15,000 trips, around half of those in European airspace, had been affected by the glitch during a machine crash which took place at around 2000 BST on Tuesday.
It's thought that 29,500 flights were scheduled over Eurocontrol managed airspace, out of a potential 36,000 that it is capable of overseeing at peak time.
The Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS) appeared to be the culprit. By going squiffy, it makes it harder for air traffic controllers to compare the demand for airspace in different parts of its jurisdiction making it harder to take action to avoid an ‘air jam'.
Eurocontrol says it"very much regrets the disruption that has been caused to passengers and airlines due to today's outage."
"We have never had anything like this before," it told AFP News.
When the ETFMS fails, the rest of the system compensates by reducing the number of planes per airport allowed to take off to just ten per hour, rolling out the restriction in stages.
It's not currently clear if passengers will be able to claim for the system fault. Some airlines may choose to shrug off all responsibility, given that the problem was outside their control.
Airlines have been requested to refile any flight plans that were sent prior to 1126 BST yesterday morning as they were lost in the system crash.
Eurocontrol said that it would keep its contingency plan in place: "until we are certain that sufficient data is in the system to allow it to operate completely correctly", indicating that it could take several hours. It pointed out that "safety was not compromised at any time".
In many ways, although the failure will be seen as a source of frustration to passengers on the ground, there's a big picture perspective that shows that in the event of a critical systems failure, Eurocontrol's backup systems performed exactly as they should. µ
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