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Around half of flights in Europe could be delayed

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Eurocontrol said the continent-wide system which determines when and where planes can safely fly, land and take-off failed at about midday on Tuesday, reported London Evening Standard (UK).

It is believed up to half a million airline passengers across Europe could be affected by delays and cancellations for the rest of the day.

In a statement the Brussels-based organisation said around half of flights across the European network could be disrupted due to the system outage.

Around 30,000 flights were expected to fly in the European network a day.

All flight plans filed before 11.30am on Tuesday have been lost by the system and airlines have been asked to refile them.

Eurocontrol said on Twitter: "There has been a failure of the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS).

"Contingency procedures are being put in place which will have the effect of reducing the capacity of the European network by approximately 10 per cent."

ETFMS is central to regulating air traffic flow around Europe. When airlines file flight plans, ETFMS calculates a pathway according to data on available airspace and allocates slots to fly.

The organisation later said the issue with the system has been identified and "work is progressing to recover this system".

Normal operations on the system are expected to resume later this evening, the firm said.

Passengers across the continent have been warned to prepare for delays, with flight restrictions put in place at some airports.

Brussels Airport said departures are "now limited to 10 per hour".
A spokeswoman for London Heathrow said the airport remains "fully operational".

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