66 flights have been cancelled, affecting 4,500 passengers as ATC software issue strikes Frankfurt Airport.
Service agency Deutsche Flugsicherung DFS was the one that reported an IT glitch in its control centre in Langen. The glitch has persisted since Wednesday, causing disruption in airports at Frankfurt am Main, Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf. DFS decided to reduce the traffic volume to monitor the flights better. New software is to be installed later this week.
As always, air passengers suffering from these cancelled flights should know that they have rights granted to them under Regulation (EC) 261/2004. The airline has to provide you with free meals and drinks. You should also be allowed to make two free calls, use email or send a free fax. If you have to wait for the flight for one or more nights, the carrier has to provide you with free accommodation at a hotel, including transport to/from the airport. In case they’re unable/unwilling to do this, save the receipts: all “rational” expenses (no VIP penthouses, caviar or limos) should be refunded afterwards. Read more here.
Unfortunately, since the disruption in the ATC software was not caused by an airline, the issue is one of the exceptional circumstances as defined by (EC) 261/2004 – which means you can’t claim cancelled flight compensation! Other rules still apply, so they airlines should still take care of you.
Frankfurt Airport was already experiencing similar issues last week. Even more unusual was the power outage in the Stockholm Arlanda airport, which disabled ATC equipment and disrupted flights.