Flights are gradually resuming in Geneva and Zurich

A breakdown at Skyguide’s skewer prevented planes from landing or taking off at Geneva and Zurich airports this morning. As a security measure, the entire Swiss airspace has been closed by the company that directs aircraft throughout the country. The incident has since been resolved, with airspace reopening at 8:30 p.m.

Also read: The failure at Skyguide is due to a hardware failure that is already causing many questions

According to initial reports, the failure was related to the failure of a computer component in Geneva, but not a software problem or an attack. In 2019 and 2022, the company experienced several incidents related to the relocation of some of its IT management services to Bulgaria and problems with its partner.

Several hours of failure

At around 9am, Geneva Airport reported a gradual resumption of traffic on Twitter. However, several connections were canceled. To learn more about the status of their flight, passengers are invited to turn to their airlines. By 9:30 a.m., the airport lobby was crowded. About 2,000 passengers on the first wave of flights, which began at 6 a.m., were waiting to board more than three hours late.

Zurich Airport remained open for the duration of the breakdown, passengers could check in but boarding was stopped. Flughafen Zürich said on Twitter that air operations were resuming with reduced capacity. By 9:30 a.m., only half of the flights must be operated and then flight operations are scheduled at 75% capacity. Since 10am, the airport has been operating at full capacity again, but delays are expected for the rest of the day.

The EuroAirport in Basel-Mulhouse was also hit by the crash, although some flights were diverted to the airport. Few flights scheduled for early this morning were able to take off or land in Basel-Mulhouse, the airport told Keystone-ATS. At Berne-Belp Airport, scheduled flights were not possible, unlike private jets which are allowed to fly on sight. Fortunately, no scheduled flights were scheduled to or from the federal capital on Wednesday morning, said airport boss Urs Ryf.

Flights canceled

To find out the status of flights on a case-by-case basis, Geneva and Zurich airports advised passengers to turn to their airlines. Several Swiss long-haul flights were diverted “to various airports in neighboring countries, including Milan, Lyon and Vienna” while short-haul flights were unable to take off until the breakdown was resolved. A total of 30 short-haul flights to and from Geneva and Zurich were canceled by the airline.

The cancellations affected 6,400 passengers, for whom Swiss said it was looking for solutions that could take the form of a “reservation change”, according to an airline spokesman. “Most of the hijacked planes went to Zurich,” he added. Swiss anticipates disruptions throughout the day and invites passengers to find out their flight conditions on its website.

For its part, EasyJet had to cancel 24 flights to and from Switzerland, where the company operates in Geneva, Basel and Zurich. It also expects disruptions throughout the day, and like Swiss, returns passengers to its site. She also says she is looking for solutions for her concerned customers without being able to provide details at the moment.

Several hijacked planes

“On a day like this, there are between 300 and 350 movements, so this breakdown will lead to major disruptions,” said Ignace Jeannerat, Ignace Jeannerat, spokesman for Geneva Airport. Companies are doing their best to warn their customers, but there will certainly be problems at the airport. ”

In Geneva, a first United Airlines flight from Newark (United States) to Geneva was diverted to Paris, and two other planes, one from New York and one from Israel, were already in the air at the time. from the announcement of the outage, were to be directed to nearby airports. Eventually, these two flights reached Geneva after the breakdown was resolved. According to the daily 20 minutes, four Swiss flights from Johannesburg, Dubai, Chicago and Montreal that were supposed to land in Kloten were diverted to Basel and Milan.

Passengers who take their pain patiently

At the outskirts of Cointrin Airport, the atmosphere is relatively calm. Nothing shows the tension that prevails at the level of departures. From one end of the hall to the other, passengers wander, suitcases in hand, searching for information. Faced with the bright screens, the verdict falls for some holidaymakers: flight canceled.

This is the case of Benoît Granges, a 49-year-old father from Friborg, who was to spend the weekend in Naples with his wife, two children and a couple of friends. The whole team got up at 5am to take the train to Geneva and then to Cointrin Airport. The children also got a waiver for missing 3 days of school.

Lack of luck, the theft with EasyJet that they had to take was one of the collateral victims of the Sykguide crash. As his wife sets off in search of information, Benoît Granges tries to stay positive: “I hope we can find a way to leave,” he sighs as his children kill time playing cards. .

Beside them, a pile of luggage, symbols of the long-awaited getaway. In the meantime, Benoît Granges is thinking about changing the mode of travel. “Next time, we’ll take the train to Europe or stay in Switzerland.” This is not the first time there have been issues with EasyJet. The ticket is not expensive but then it is the cross and the banner to be refunded. ” Behind the break of the day, the father may have learned a lesson.

In a corner of the lobby, a group of about 30 French retirees gathered, suitcase in hand. They were supposed to leave for Brindisi for 8 days but their flight with EasyJet was canceled. On the phone, their companion Evelyne, from the Philibert travel agency in Lyon, tries to reassure them and philosophizes: “There is a solution to every problem.” While most travelers remain calm, some are impatient. “It’s hard to start a holiday like this, especially since we don’t know how long it will last.” From one end of the group to the other, the comet’s plans are scaffolding: get off at Brindisi by bus or change destinations.

Sylvia Revello

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