Swiss airspace closes after system failure in Skyguide navigation service

Placeholder while article actions load

Switzerland’s airspace shut down for at least two hours Wednesday when a computer malfunction in the air traffic control system grounded flights at the country’s busiest airports.

The air navigation service Skyguide said it resolved the problem after it “experienced a technical malfunction in the early hours of this morning, which is why Swiss airspace closed to traffic for safety reasons.”

The skies are “now open again and air traffic over Switzerland and operations at the national airports of Geneva and Zurich are resuming,” it said in an update.

The company did not provide details about the malfunction, which Geneva Airport described as a computer failure. “We are doing everything in our power to handle the flights efficiently and to keep delays to a minimum,” the Skyguide statement added.

The closure followed disruptions at airports around Europe in recent weeks, including staff shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic that have upended travel in Britain and strikes in France and Italy.

The Swiss system failure grounded all takeoffs and landings early Wednesday at the country’s main airport in Zurich, which handles more than 300 departures a day, according to aviation tracker Flightradar24. The Zurich airport said flights were running again at half capacity, asking passengers to check airline information before heading to their departures.

Geneva Airport said that air traffic started “resuming gradually” but added that “many flights are canceled.”