09 July 2008

Radar Fault disrupts Dublin Air Traffic - again

Today the air traffic to and from Dublin Airport (right) has been seriously disrupted - once again - due to faults in the radar of Dublin air control.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said this afternoon that Dublin Airport was working at half capacity with twelve flights arriving and twelve departing per hour. But this is subject to change.

According to an IAA spokeswoman, at around 11.45 a.m. this morning "a problem occurred with the air traffic management system". Due to a technical fault, air traffic controllers were unable to identify aircraft on their radar.

This problem lasted for approximately ten minutes, before the system returned to normal functionality. During the time of the fault all departures were held on the ground and some aircraft in the air were asked to remain where they were.

Now - as a result of this incident and in the interests of safety - restrictions have been put on the number of flights.
Air traffic controllers want to satisfy themselves that the system is stable again. This now causes delays, and passengers are advised to check with their airlines regarding their booked flights.

It is not for the first time that this has happened. Malfunctions and technical faults on the radar of Dublin Airport have occurred several times since a new system was installed in 2003 by a French company.

During my time in the Navy I used radar regularly, and thus I know a thing or two about it. For me it is hard to understand how a large and expensive radar like the one in Dublin can have so many technical faults. In my experience this points more at shoddy maintenance than at a manufacturing fault.

It is however not more than right and sensible to put safety first. But that again raises the simple question no-one dares to ask: Is there too much air traffic passing through Dublin already?

If so, then something has to be done about it, on a political and strategic level. Maybe we should, as ironic it might sound, be grateful for the radar faults if they highlight a bigger problem.

The Emerald Islander

Additional Information on Aer Lingus flights:

Aer Lingus says it had to cancel 23 flights to and from Dublin today because of the malfunction of the airport radar. Ten flights were diverted to Shannon, Belfast and Cork, and a bus service has been provided for those passengers to get them to Dublin.

All but five Aer Lingus flights after 5 p.m. this afternoon have now been canceled. The flights still scheduled to start from Dublin are: EI 109 Dublin to New York, EI 137 Dublin to Boston, EI 125 Dublin to Chicago via Shannon, EI 678 Dublin to Budapest, and EI 166 Dublin to London Heathrow.

A spokeswoman for Aer Lingus says it is too early to say whether today's disruption will have an effect on flights tomorrow, but she said the airline hopes to restore a full schedule in the morning.

Affected passengers can rebook their flights free of charge, via the website, www.aerlingus.com, or by calling reservations on 0818-365044. Passengers choosing not to travel may avail of a refund.

The fault has also caused delays to flights on other airlines.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Radar or no Rader fault the whole Airport thing has worn me down. Getting to the Airport 2 hours before the flight. Getting trough security. Delays etc. I seem to holiday at home more and more.

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