The European continent-wide system which determines when and where planes can safely fly, land and take-off failed at about lunchtime on Tuesday.
As consequence, half of flights travelling across Europe faced delays due to computer failures. The Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System’ failure required procedures to be put in place. Contingency Level Red has been declared. „We very much regret the inconvenience caused to passengers across Europe today however safety is our number 1 priority at all times. We are working hard to ensure the network returns to normal operations over the coming hours,” Eurocontrol said. About 10% of flights will have to be cancelled, the Brussels-based organisation said.
Brussels Airport, as an example, announced it is only allowing 10 flights an hour to depart due to the failure. However, a spokeswoman for London Heathrow said the airport is not expecting to have any delays due to the failure and it is "business as normal". Eurocontrol covers 41 states across Europe and has agreements with countries in northern Africa, the Middle East and central Asia to ensure air traffic flows safely and as smoothly as possible. The average daily traffic in April in Eurocontrol’s 41 member states is almost 30,000 flights. Half a million airline passengers across Europe faced delays and cancellations for the rest of the day.