In June 2022, there was a five-hour closure of the airspace over Switzerland. The reason is now also known: A missing server update briefly paralyzed air traffic, according to the report.
Swiss airspace: closure due to server update
In the middle of the summer of 2022, in June to be precise, there was a closure of airspace over Switzerland. This lasted only about five hours, but thousands of travelers were still affected.
In the meantime, the reason has also been identified, as reported by Republik. A technical breakdown in the form of a missing server update caused the air traffic control company Skyguide to stop working for a while. However, the consequences were much more serious than initially assumed.
Two Swiss supervisory authorities at once, the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (Bazl) and the Department of Transport, Environment, Energy and Communications (Uvek), are looking into the incident, and the full and final results are expected to be presented in December 2022.
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However, as reported by Republik magazine, there are said to be serious problems. Investigations show “that Swiss air traffic control does not even meet the federal government’s minimum requirements for critical infrastructure” when it comes to information technology.
Moreover, the entire incident is said to have taken place quite differently than it was portrayed in the media. At least conversations with the employees of the technical staff and insights into the systems suggest this, so the Republic further.
One of the reasons for the closure of the airspace was that a defective network computer was not forwarding data traffic. However, it only had to be rebooted and not replaced. A necessary software update for the computer was already available, but had not yet been installed.
Skyguide also lacked the personnel to perform the maintenance work, according to the report. In addition, there are many other deficiencies that are responsible for the protracted problem and do not cast a good light on air traffic control.
The report also criticizes the fact that all the necessary servers are located at a single site – namely in Dübendorf. If a problem arises here, it will have repercussions for the entire Swiss airspace.