Sofia Airport: Flight delays possible because of technical problem in European control system

Delays in flights were possible, Sofia Airport warned on April 3, after a technical problem with the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS) at Eurocontrol’s headquarter in Brussels.

Up to 11pm on April 3, delays were expected in take-off and landing of aircraft across Europe, which could affect flights to and from Sofia Airport, a statement said.

Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, said in its own statement that there had been a failure of the ETFMS, with an impact on the associated flight plan system.

“The ETFMS is central to the flow management function of Network Manager, which regulates the flow of flights around Europe. Air Traffic Control has not been directly affected and there are no safety implications arising from this incident,” Eurocontrol said.

“The issue with the ETFMS system has been identified and action is underway to return to normal operations. However, flight plans filed before 10.26 UTC were lost and aircraft operators were required to refit these flight plans for all aircraft that have not yet departed.”

The ATFM contingency plan would be maintained for the coming few hours until Eurocontrol was certain that sufficient data is in the system to allow it to operate completely correctly.

On April 3, about 29 500 flights were expected in the European network. About half of these could have some delay as a result of the system outage, Eurocontrol said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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