Communication system failure at air traffic control

On the 15th of August, many flights were either delayed or cancelled due to a communication system failure at air traffic control at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The communication system was temporarily out of order. No communication was possible between air traffic controllers and pilots, leading to dozens of departures and arrivals being delayed and/or cancelled. The malfunctioning lasted about 45 minutes and shortly after flights started departing again.

Did other airports have delays?

The fault only affected Schiphol. Other airports in the Netherlands were not affected by the malfunction.

What caused the fault resulting in delays?

What caused the failure is unclear. However, the air traffic control tower is being rebuilt so that even more air traffic controllers can work at the same time. It is not known whether the renovation has anything to do with the system failure.

Claiming compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight caused by air traffic control

Such an event is most often an extraordinary circumstance. In line with EU Regulation 261/2004, the delays and cancellations were out of the control of the airlines and therefore you are not entitled to compensation. However, this does not mean that you are left out to dry. You have the right to care, for example with meals and refreshments. In such situations, the airline must always take care of you. 


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Communication system failure at air traffic control
Elham Sedighi

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