July 19, 2018 / 3:20 PM / a month ago

Belgian flight data issue disrupts travel, airspace closed

BERLIN, July 19 (Reuters) - Air travellers are facing disruption on Thursday after flight space over Belgium was closed due to a problem with a flight data processing system at Belgium air traffic controller Belgocontrol.

“Due to an exceptional situation air traffic is temporarily suspended. Belgocontrol is looking in to it. We are closely monitoring the situation,” Brussels Airport said via Twitter, referring to the Belgium air traffic control authority.

Belgocontrol said it was working to find a solution to the problem.

This summer has already seen disruption to air travel, with carriers such as easyJet, Ryanair, IAG and Lufthansa all having said they are cancelling more flights than usual because of air traffic control strikes and staffing issues, plus severe weather.

On Wednesday, flights to and from Britain were disrupted after a Heathrow control tower was evacuated after a fire alarm and British Airways experienced problems with an IT system.

Eurocontrol had experienced a failure of its flight planning processing systems in April, which led to thousands of flight delays across Europe.

Thursday’s incident is down to a Belgocontrol system, Eurocontrol said. The airspace is closed with immediate effect until 1700 GMT.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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