Airspace closed for hours: breakdown paralyzes Swiss air traffic

In the early morning, nothing is going on in the sky over Switzerland.

Airspace closed for hours: breakdown paralyzes Swiss air traffic

In the early morning, nothing is going on in the sky over Switzerland. All commercial aircraft must bypass the country's airspace. The reason for this is a technical fault in air traffic control. It takes hours to fix the problem.

After an unprecedented breakdown at the Swiss air traffic control Skyguide, the entire airspace over Switzerland was closed for hours in the morning. The problem was solved at 8.30 a.m., as announced by Skyguide. Overflights as well as take-offs and landings at Swiss airports could be resumed. According to the Skyguide spokesman, the cause was a hardware problem in the IT network. The company ruled out a cyber attack.

"Skyguide regrets this incident and its consequences for its customers and partners as well as the passengers at the two national airports," the company said. "Skyguide does everything it can to handle flights efficiently in order to keep delays as short as possible."

During the more than two-hour breakdown, numerous flights to Zurich and Geneva had to be diverted to neighboring countries. At the Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss, these included airports such as Lyon in France, Milan in Italy and Vienna in Austria, as the company announced. Dozens of launches have been canceled.

Skyguide was initially unable to quantify how many machines were diverted due to the breakdown or could not start. In any case, thousands of passengers are likely to have been affected. Many ended up being diverted to airports, some of which were hundreds of kilometers away from their destination. Others were waiting at the airport for departures with machines that were now at the wrong airport.

In the end, however, the problem was resolved faster than expected. Geneva Airport initially assumed that no planes would be able to take off or land until 11 a.m. According to the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA, there were similar problems in Zurich.

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