Swiss airspace closes after system failure in Skyguide navigation service

Jaime E. Love


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Switzerland’s airspace shut down for at least two hours Wednesday when a computer malfunction in the air traffic control system grounded flights at the country’s busiest airports.

The air navigation service Skyguide said it resolved the problem after it “experienced a technical malfunction in the early hours of this morning, which is why Swiss airspace closed to traffic for safety reasons.”

The skies are “now open again and air traffic over Switzerland and operations at the national airports of Geneva and Zurich are resuming,” it said in an update.

The company did not provide details about the malfunction, which Geneva Airport described as a computer failure. “We are doing everything in our power to handle the flights efficiently and to keep delays to a minimum,” the Skyguide statement added.

The closure followed disruptions at airports around Europe in recent weeks, including strikes in France and Italy, and staff shortages because of the coronavirus pandemic that have upended travel in Britain.

Chaos at European airports strands travelers

The Swiss system failure grounded all takeoffs and landings early Wednesday at the country’s main airport in Zurich, which handles more than 300 departures a day, according to aviation tracker Flightradar24. The Zurich airport said flights were running again at half capacity, asking passengers to check airline information before heading to their departures.

Geneva Airport said in a tweet that air traffic started “resuming gradually” but added that “many flights are canceled.”


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