‘Exceptional situation’ as Belgium shuts entire airspace after technical glitch

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Travellers in Europe are experiencing more flight disruption after airspace above Belgium was shut down due to a technical glitch.

The country’s air traffic controller said it was working to find a solution to “a problem loading flight data”, which has left all air traffic temporarily suspended.

Brussels Airport – which handles some 650 flights a day – described the issue as “an exceptional situation”.

Five other airports have been affected, with planes prevented from flying over Belgium since 4pm local time.

Brussels Airport handles around 650 flights a day  ‘Exceptional situation’ as Belgium shuts entire airspace after technical glitch skynews brussels airport belgium 4366157
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Brussels Airport handles around 650 flights a day

Air navigation service provider Belgocontrol said the issue is a “very specific problem” – adding that it was “no longer sure that all information of flights was correct”.

Some planes have been grounded, while others have been prevented from landing.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab may well be among those facing a delay to their travel plans, having been in Brussels for his first meeting with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Air traffic controller Belgocontrol said it was a 'very specific problem'  ‘Exceptional situation’ as Belgium shuts entire airspace after technical glitch skynews brussels airport belgium 4366158
Image:
Air traffic controller Belgocontrol said it was a ‘very specific problem’

It comes just a day after British Airways (BA) cancelled dozens of flights in and out of Heathrow Airport, with one passenger describing “complete chaos” at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Long queues were reported as other BA flights suffered delays, with hundreds of passengers told to return to the airport on Thursday only to be warned of “knock-on disruption”.

The summer had already seen disruption to other airlines, with easyJet, Ryanair, IAG and Lufthansa all admitting they were cancelling more flights than normal because of strikes, staffing issues, and severe weather.

EasyJet revealed on Wednesday that it had cancelled 2,606 flights in its third quarter to the end of June, mainly due to industrial action most notably in France.



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