A large system failure at European Air Control Center Eurocontrol caused high delays for thousands of European scheduled flights yesterday afternoon. The failed flight management system urged the air traffic control to scale back flights ten percent as a part of an emergency backup plan.
Failure in Eurocontrol system
Due to a system failure at the head office of Eurocontrol, the Air Traffic Control lost all flight plans submitted after 10.26 AM. Airlines across Europe were forced to ground their planes and resubmit their flight plans. ‘The flight safety was never at risk’ a Eurocontrol Spokesperson confirmed.
Delays across Europe due to failure
29.500 flights were scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and evening when the system failed. About half of the scheduled flights suffered delays in the recovery process. Flight capacity was reduced to avoid any hazardous situations in the European airspace. The failure was fixed in the evening. The origin of the problem has nog yet been discovered. Eurocontrol has not been through a system failure of this scale since 2001. The impact in the UK varied as London Heathrow suffered minimal delays as London City flights suffered more and longer delays.
No right to compensation for system failure ATC
When Air Traffic Control is dealing with a system failure and your flight is delayed, this is regarded as an extraordinary circumstance. The airline is not responsible for the caused problems with your flight and therefor you are not entitled to compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004. You are however entitled to care for delays exceeding two hours.