Airport radar blinded by faulty network card

LONDON – A faulty network card is being blamed for bringing Dublin Airport to a halt last month when the radar system collapsed.

Dublin Airport is working with air traffic management system supplier Thales ATM to tackle a serious radar system malfunction, after the error delayed numerous flights.

Passengers were left waiting at the airport for up to two hours at arrivals and departures following a failure in the radar system on July 9.

“Thales ATM confirmed the root cause of the hardware system malfunction as an intermittent malfunctioning network card which consequently overcame the built-in system redundancy,” the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said in a statement. Thales ATM also confirmed that the network card had caused system malfunctions for several weeks since June 2nd.

“Thales ATM stated that in 10 similar Air Traffic Control Centres worldwide with over 500,000 flight hours (50 years), this is the first time an incident of this type has been reported,” said the IAA.

Dublin Airport has warned travellers can expect ongoing delays for several weeks as engineers put in place better system monitoring tools.

The Irish Aviation Authority said air traffic control is now “generally meeting demand”, but added that delays will still occur at peak times until the system is returned to full function.

“To minimise the possibility of such a recurrence, the IAA has installed additional system monitoring tools and proposed an enhancement to the failure recovery system,” it added. “The IAA is continuously monitoring the system performance.” It said it will slowly add capacity to the system, and will not operate it to its limit until testing is complete.

Thales has not yet been able to comment.

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