Air traffic 'glitch' grounds Sydney flights
Power outage of software crash, depending on who you listen to
Sydney airport was in chaos on the first Monday of the Australian state of New South Wales' spring school holidays, after air traffic controllers had to revert to manual operations.
Operations at Kingsford Smith airport were almost completely shut down from the time its curfew lifts (six in the morning) until after 10:00 today (September 25).
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC Sydney blamed a system software issue, and said the software in question feeds flight plans into Airservices' radar.
The Guardian, however, put it down to a power outage.
Information boards at the airport told passengers the problem was an air traffic control radar failure.
Whatever the root cause, air traffic controllers had to revert to manual operations at the country's busiest airport on a high-traffic day. To cope, some international flights were allowed to land, but international and domestic departures were delayed or cancelled.
Airservice Australia, which provides air traffic control services to Australian airports, emitted three Tweets:
✈️ We have a confirmed technical issue @SydneyAirport. We are working to rectify the issue while managing traffic safely.— AirservicesAustralia (@AirservicesNews) September 24, 2017
The technical issue @SydneyAirport has been addressed, we are now working to resume to normal operations and clear the backlog of flights.— AirservicesAustralia (@AirservicesNews) September 24, 2017
The last stated that the issue was addressed shortly before 10:00:
Passengers are advised to contact their airline for details of their flight status today.— AirservicesAustralia (@AirservicesNews) September 24, 2017
That last statement came quite some time after operations re-started: The Guardian said the “glitch” was overcome by 09:00.
That piece adds that manual operations limit the airport to 15 movements per hour; its usual maximum capacity is 80 movements per hour.
The problems cascaded to other Australian airports, where flights were either cancelled or delayed until they could be sure of landing. ®