Posted on15. June 2022, 11:46
6,400 air travelers were prevented from flying in or out of Zurich and Geneva today due to disruptions to air traffic control. There is hardly any compensation due to force majeure. Passengers need to know that now.
Due to a disruption to Skyguide air traffic control on Wednesday morning, nothing worked at the airports in Zurich and Geneva for more than two hours.
Wikipedia / Petar Marjanovic / CC BY-SA 3.0
According to a spokesman for Skyguide, a hardware component has stopped working properly, causing some systems to crash.
20 minutes / Marco Zangger
Consequently, 6,400 Swiss air travelers were unable to arrive or depart in Zurich and Geneva.
20 minutes / community
On Wednesday morning, nothing worked at the airports of Zurich and Geneva. Due to a complete failure, all Swiss airspace was closed for just over two hours and many passengers were stuck.
Problem has been solved. Just before 9 a.m. the first flight returned to Zurich, and by 10 a.m. the airport was again working at 100% capacity. 20 minutes answers the most important questions about an airport crash and tells passengers what passengers now need to consider.
A system failure at the air traffic control company Skyguide (see box) meant that take-offs and landings were no longer possible. According to a spokesman for Skyguide, a hardware component has stopped working properly, causing some systems to crash. A hacking attack is unlikely.
“It seems likely that Skyguide stopped air traffic immediately,” said Philipp Hadorn, president of the Sev-Gata union that represents the air force ground staff. As passenger safety is paramount, according to Hadorna, it must not be at any point in time.
According to Skyguide, the systems communicate with each other and exchange data. If one fails, it will also cause problems for the others. However, when asked, aviation expert Rene Puls from the University of St. Gallen suspects that several components have failed. “Systems are usually redundant, that is, double secured. For such a failure, several events must coincide at the same time – says Puls.
Trade union expert Hadorn said he did not want to jump to conclusions, but also said: “Skyguide now needs to carefully investigate what led to this defeat.” The company is close to the federal government, systemically important, and has an important airspace monitoring task – so you need to keep an eye on Skyguide.
According to Skyguide, it is too early to be able to estimate the damage, but the damage will be significant. According to aviation expert Puls, the damage at airports is not as great as that of airlines. Airports would still have their basic revenues, but airlines would now need a little more time for normal operations.
IT flaws happen time and time again, but security measures must be particularly high in aviation, says Hadorn, who is also a member of Skyguide’s oversight committee as a parliamentarian. It has long been known that network systems can be vulnerable to attack. According to Hadorna, closer cooperation with other airports in Europe could possibly remedy this situation.
According to Skyguide, it’s hard to tell when normal operations will resume. Upon request, Zurich Airport recommends that you respect the flight information provided by the airlines. The Swiss expects it to return to normal during the day, but there may still be anomalies. The airline canceled around 30 short-haul flights, affecting around 6,400 passengers.
Replacement flight only, but no delay compensation. A spokesman for Switzerland explains that the failure of the system was an extraordinary circumstance. However, Swiss takes care of support services such as meals, telephone costs, hotel accommodation in case of longer delays, and transfer to the hotel.