All flights in France came to a halt when a computer glitch disrupted all air traffic over the country. According to a spokesperson for the DGAC, which is the civil aviation authority of France, the automatic flight plan system suffered a breakdown on Sunday morning. The problem was attended to immediately and fixed before noon.
The spokesperson, who was not authorised to be publicly-named, reassured the media that the glitch had no impact on the security of flights.
The impact of the disruption
The glitch caused a halt in all air traffic throughout France. Services at one of Europe’s most busy airports, the Charles de Gaule Airport, were also affected. While the glitch has been fixed, flights continue to be influenced and running late.
The impact is evident in all airports from Britain to Morocco and beyond, with passengers piling up for disrupted schedules. The pilot of a Royal Air Maroc flight, that was due to take off for Paris from Casablanca, Morocco, described the disruption as “exceptional.” The flight was later rerouted to Milan.
Impact on UK flights
British Airport authorities confirmed that all flights headed for, or passing over, Spain and France had been affected by the computer breakdown.
While some British Airways passengers confirmed that their flights had been cancelled, the airline’s authorities refused to give a definite number of cancelled flights. British Airways offered free ticket exchanges to passengers travelling to Portugal, Italy, France, and Spain.
Out of 2,000 flights that were scheduled to take off on Sunday, EasyJet was forced to cancel 180 trips. The airline had contacted passengers directly to intimate them of the delays and had also given them the option of either getting a refund or transferring their itinerary.
According to the National Air Traffic Services, the number of flights that had been disrupted by the outage was not clear. However, at the time of this report, they were working together with all airlines in the United Kingdom to minimise the damage.
All airlines have urged their passengers to check with their respective airlines to confirm the status of their flights before making their way to the airport. Meanwhile, passengers took to social media about the problems they faced at various airports across the country.
Some flights that have been affected are those making their way from Lisbon to UK, Scotland to England, and Edinburgh to London Stansted.
Compensation by airlines
According to Simon Calder, a travel expert, the concerned passengers would not be eligible for compensation since it was not the airline’s fault. However, it was the duty of airlines to take care of all affected customers by providing them with meals and even accommodation if necessary.
He added that travellers would need to rebook on the first flight available – preferably on the same day – even if it meant booking through a different airline.
While the problem has been dealt with, affected airports are still reeling under the impact of the glitch. Flights have resumed, but it will be a while before normalcy is reached.