Belgian ATC Failure Causes More Flight Disruption

July 19, 2018

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European flights faced a second day of disruption on Thursday as a flight data processing fault in Brussels caused the closure of much of Belgium’s airspace.

Eurocontrol, responsible for air traffic management across Europe, announced the issue in a tweet saying “There is an issue with the flight date processing system in Belgium, affecting lower airspace and, in particular, Belgian airports.”

An hour later it added that due to the system failure, flight restrictions had been extended to 19.00 local time (17.00 UTC/GMT).

During the airspace closure, the country’s main airport, Brussels Zaventem, advised passengers to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

Two hours later Belgium’s Belgocontrol, where the problem originated, said “Problem with flight plan data is resolved. Belgian sky totally open again.”

Thursday’s ATC fault came straight after two problems the previous day had disrupted flights at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The first, where an airport control tower fire alarm forced a brief evacuation of the tower, caused minor disruption with a few flights delayed or diverted to Gatwick or Stansted.

The second incident, on Wednesday evening, was caused by a problem with a British Airways computer system. Many BA flights were delayed or cancelled during the outage, with some delays lasting into Thursday. The airline blamed a contractor for the computer outage.