On 15 June 2022, Swiss airspace was closed after a computer malfunction.
At 6:30 am the Swiss air navigation service provider Skyguide reported a technical malfunction and announced the closure of Swiss airspace for safety reasons. Two hours later at 8:30 am Skyguide reported that the technical malfunction had been resolved.
The outage affected several thousand passengers who were forced to wait in Geneva and Zurich, while incoming flights were rerouted to neighbouring airports, reported RTS. Some flights were rerouted to Milan.
Skyguide reported that an IT problem was discovered at 4:00 am. A hardware issue was identified in the network at the central computing centre in Geneva. The failure prevented data flowing from one part of the system to another. In addition, the back system also failed. A more manual procedure run by the controllers had to be used to guide aircraft already in Swiss airspace.
Switzerland’s cybersecurity centre was involved in searching for the cause of the outage but a cyberattack has been ruled out. Skyguide said that a hack had been ruled out quite definitively.
Normally, it would be possible to conduct air traffic control from a second air traffic control centre in Dübendorf. However, because the problem affected the network there was no option but to close Swiss airspace to ensure safety, said the company.
The outage affected the airports of Geneva, Zurich and Basel-Mulhouse, despite its location in neighbouring France.
By 6 pm, around 70 flights in and out of Geneva and around 90 flights in and out of Zurich had been cancelled.
Alex Bristol, the head of Skyguide told RTS that it is the first time that something of this kind has occurred at the company.
Under the law, there is no way for airlines to pass on any costs associated with the outage to Skyguide, said Bristol. The law is structured this way to ensure independence to enhance safety.