The Swiss air traffic control Skyguide experienced a significant technical fault early on Wednesday. As a result, Swiss airspace had to be closed and no flights could be carried out.
“Flight operations have been running at 10% capacity again since 00:100 a.m. We continue to recommend passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline,” said Zurich Airport shortly after 10:00 a.m.
“Swiss airspace is open again and Swiss flight operations can now gradually be resumed. The first Swiss planes have already taken off and landed, the majority of the diverted planes are on their way to Zurich. Flight operations are expected to return to normal later in the day. However, irregularities can still occur. Travelers are asked to check the current flight status at www.swiss.com. So far, 30 short-haul flights to and from Zurich and Geneva have been canceled, affecting around 6400 passengers. Solutions are now being sought for the customers affected, for example in the form of rebooking, ”said Swiss shortly after 10:30 a.m.
“Flight operations at Zurich Airport are up and running again. Flight operations are planned until 09:30 a.m. at 50% capacity, from 09:30 a.m. at 75% capacity. We recommend passengers to check the airline's flight information. Due to a Skyguide system failure, no take-offs or landings were possible at Zurich Airport during the morning wave today," Zurich Airport said on Wednesday shortly after 9 a.m.
No planes can take off or land in Geneva and Zurich. Departures were canceled and incoming planes diverted. For example, long-haul connections from Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines had to switch to Munich. At least two connections from United had to diverge to Frankfurt am Main. A Swiss flight coming from Shanghai went to Vienna instead of Zurich. A United connection destined for Geneva had to switch to Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
It is currently unclear how long the disruption will last. As a precaution, the flights were canceled until around 11:00 a.m. However, it is currently not clear whether there will be an involuntary extension. "Due to a technical problem with Skyguide, Swiss airspace is currently closed and therefore no arrivals and departures to and from Zurich and Geneva are possible. The incoming long-haul flights are currently being diverted to various airports in neighboring countries, including Lyon, Milan and Vienna. Short-haul flights are currently not taking off. In this challenging situation, Swiss is striving to find solutions for the affected passengers as quickly as possible. Swiss is monitoring the situation closely and hopes to be able to resume regular flight operations as quickly as possible," said the country's largest airline.
Skyguide explained that they want to fix the problem as quickly as possible. No further details were given as to the cause. It is not yet possible to give a specific date for the reopening of Switzerland's airspace.
“Due to a Skyguide system failure, no take-offs or landings are currently possible at Zurich Airport. We now expect that flight operations will be ramped up again before noon with reduced capacity. Check-in at Zurich Airport continues. We recommend that passengers read the airline's information before departing for Zurich Airport.
Flight operations in Basel-Mulhouse are not affected by the disruption. This airport is on French territory and is therefore controlled by the local air traffic control. Peoples also flies from the private Altenrhein airfield – albeit with a delay. For example, flight PE100 took a detour excluding Switzerland's airspace and instead flew via Bregenz and Bavaria.