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Chaotic day for air traffic in southern Norway after the airspace closed

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This was the message that met travelers who were going to fly to and from southern Norway in the morning hours on Thursday. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB

Of NTB | 25.04.2024 16:42:56

Economy and business: – Due to the incident, there will unfortunately be delays throughout the day, Avinor stated as the airspace gradually opened from 9.35am.

Then a technical error at the company’s control center at Røyken in Asker paralyzed air traffic in the south for several hours.

Although traffic picked up during the afternoon, the rest of Thursday was characterized by delays and cancellations. At 12 noon, 16 departures and 42 arrivals were canceled at Oslo Airport. In addition, a number of flights had had their departure time postponed.

Traffic was also affected by the technical error at several other airports in southern Norway, including Sandefjord, Molde, Ørsta-Volda, Ålesund, Bergen, Kristiansand and Stavanger.

For those who are going out on Friday, the message from Avinor is to sit quietly in the boat. The airline will notify you if there are any changes.

NTB spoke shortly after 6.30 with a passenger on a plane that was supposed to travel from Gardermoen to Zurich, but where the pilot stated that air traffic control was down over the whole of southern Norway and that the entire system was paralysed.

While they waited for further information, coffee and food were served in the cabin. An hour and a half after the scheduled departure, the passengers were told that the flight to Switzerland had been canceled and that they had to leave the plane.

Norwegian stated at the same time Television 2 that they had been told that the airspace would be closed until 11 o’clock.

– We expect there to be delays throughout the day, and there may be cancellations, senior communications advisor Eline Hyggen Skari at Norwegian told NTB just after 10 o’clock.

The airline was working to rebook passengers whose flight was canceled as a result of the technical error. Passengers could also request a refund if they preferred it.

– We are working to get the customers off the ground, said Skari.

Consumer lawyer Thomas Iversen tells Aftenposten that passengers should check which rights they have to compensation at the Consumer Council flight rights calculator.

– Incidents like this can be a circumstance that exempts the airlines from paying standardized compensation, but all other rights apply as usual, says Iversen to the newspaper.

– I can deny that it is, said press officer Helene Wattanapradit Jensen in Avinor NRK.

She further explained that the technical error was due to two systems not talking to each other as they should.

The National Security Agency (NSM) informed NTB earlier on Thursday morning that they had not received any information linking them to what happened over the airspace in southern Norway.

– If it is a question of life or death, we fly as normal – completely regardless of this, said the rescue leader.

The Norwegian Air Ambulance was not affected by the flight stop either.

Following the incident, the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority must receive an explanation from Avinor. The inspectorate must then assess the measures and routines that were carried out in connection with the closure.

– But it is too early to speculate on anything from our side. Both in terms of causes and possible follow-up from us, says Director of Communications Håvard Vikheim in the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority to NRK.

He adds that the statement from Avinor should come fairly quickly after the incident.

At Oslo Airport, the last plane took off before the shutdown at 6 am on Thursday morning, according to Avinor’s overview.

On Thursday morning, Norwegian could confirm that all their flights to and from Oslo Airport were affected.

The reason why the airspace had to close was for some time unknown, but Avinor was able to state during Thursday that it was not due to a data breach.

The rescue helicopters were allowed to fly as normal, said rescue manager Jan Erik Skorte in the Main Rescue Centre NRK Thursday morning.

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