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Up to 500,000 passengers may be delayed…

If you’re traveling in Europe today, and perhaps tomorrow – you’re in the right place. A massive system failure has occurred at Eurocontrol, the body responsible for routing Europe’s air traffic, resulting in delays, cancellations and unease. The failure is playing havoc with airlines all across Europe, so here’s everything you need to know to ensure you safe yourself the most hassle.

Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System

Eurocontrol oversees airspace and air traffic control across Europe. The Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System is designed to compare open space with current routes, to find corridors and routes for planes to fly. The system experienced a complete meltdown today, sending systems into contingency. Within the contingency there simply isn’t enough data for all flights scheduled to be flying at once. It’s imperatively important to understand that at no point were planes in any danger. That’s what back up systems and contingency plans are for.

10% Cancelled, Many Delayed

In response to the decreased capability, 10% of flights throughout Europe have been cancelled for today, with inevitable knock on effects for tomorrows flights.  As any traveler can imagine, the system failure send things into a state of flux with planes mid flight, and therefore many flights, as high as 50% either have or will experience some sort of delay. The most significant delays and cancellations have been experienced at Amsterdam Schipol and Brussels International Airport. Sky News quoted Heathrow Airport as “business as usual, with no reported delays”.  This would likely be considered an “act of God” and therefore no cash compensation would be due.

More Intrigue For Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the UK’s NATS will move to a digital system. To adjust for any potential growing pains, additional landings and departures will be scheduled for the early morning and late evenings to alleviate travel flow. Eurocontrol expects to have the system fully back on line by the evening tonight, Tuesday – and has asked all airlines to refile flight planes for any planes yet to take off.

What You Should Do

For now, simply monitor the status of your flight. Use your airline’s mobile app, check departure boards and ensure that your contact details are up to date and functioning. There’s nothing worse than showing up at an airport only to be told every passenger was notified of a cancellation hours ago.

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