ATC radar failure causes Ireland airspace shutdown

IAA's Shannon Centre. Photo: © Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)

A radar system failure at the Shannon air traffic control (ATC) centre, which is responsible for coordinating airborne aircraft in Ireland, caused a temporary shutdown of the country’s airspace on Tuesday, affecting flights to and from most of Ireland’s airports.

The issue occurred in the evening at around 8:20pm local time. It was resolved about two hours later using backup systems.

Dublin Airport was excepted from the ATC closure, thanks to its close proximity to British airspace. All flights to and from other Irish airports (such as Shannon , Cork or Knock), as well as all flights overflying the country, were affected, causing several delays and even cancellations. Many transatlantic flights had to be re-routed to avoid the affected airspace.

A statement was published by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), after Eurocontrol (European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) lifted its ‘zero flight rate’ notice for the country:

“Safety is the IAA’s main priority and in accordance with normal procedure the IAA restricted air traffic while the issue was being investigated.
Flights to and from Shannon and Cork were affected by the restriction. Dublin was not affected.
As part of planned contingency, the IAA moved to its back-up systems and the flight restrictions have been lifted.
– Manus Weed, IAA Corporate Affairs“

The radar failure was caused by technical issues. More details on the reason are not yet known.