The UK’s air traffic program misread two locations on a map, causing the worst outage in service in a decade | world News

United kingdom Worst air traffic outage in a decade It was caused by a glitch in the Airspace Director’s software system, which confused two geographical checkpoints some 4,000 nautical miles apart.

Travelers were seen waiting for delayed flights at London’s Heathrow airport. (AP)

The United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority said on Wednesday it would review the technical issue that led to hundreds of flights being canceled or delayed last week after an error processing the airline’s flight plan.

The flaw shut down the software system operated by NATS for safety reasons, according to a preliminary report from the public-private partnership formerly called National Air Traffic Services. This forced air traffic operators to manually enter flight plans, greatly reducing the amount of air traffic that could be processed.

The event disrupted airlines and airports in the United Kingdom on August 28, resulting in planes being grounded and stranding passengers. Nearly 800 flights leaving UK airports have been cancelled, with a similar number of arrivals cancelled, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

The NATS report showed that on the day of the accident, an airline had entered a plan into the system to pass through UK airspace. NATS CEO Martin Rolfe declined to discuss details of the flight, such as its route or the airline involved, saying the details were not relevant to the outage.

Although the flight plan was not wrong, it did throw the system away because the software NATS used had obtained duplicate identities for two different points on the map. There are an infinite number of flight plan waypoints in the world, and duplicates remain despite work to eliminate them, according to Rolfe.

In this case, NATS correctly identified the point at which the aircraft was to cross into the UK. However, the exit point had a duplicate name that matched a different place on the map about 4,000 nautical miles away. NATS has realized that this is geographically incorrect.

After the platform failed to find the exit point, the backup system kicked in and ran into the same issue, resulting in the NATS software shutting down for safety reasons, according to the report.

“We’ve never seen this set of circumstances before,” Rolfe said.

NATS said in its report that the manufacturer will update the software to prevent it from shutting down under similar circumstances in the future. Rolfe said that this program will be implemented in the coming days, after testing. NATS said that in the meantime, a temporary fix has been put in place to prevent a recurrence.

(tags for translation)UK Air Traffic Outage

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