New Zealand Traffic Control experiences computer breakdown , second in one month : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Airways Corp plays down second glitch Source: Sunday Star-Times Publication date: Jan 23, 2000

THE country's air traffic control system broke down again last week -- the second time in a month -- but the Airways Corporation is playing down safety concerns.

Corporation spokeswoman Heather Hayden yesterday blamed Thursday's 30-minute breakdown on a "computer problem" which was still being investigated.

She confirmed a back-up system also did not work immediately but said there were no safety problems -- a third-level system was used. An air traffic controller told the Sunday Star-Times departures were delayed and controllers increased separation between aircraft already flying.

The breakdown had caused "a little bit of distress . . . especially at that time (just after 6pm) when it's very busy".

Hayden said some flights might have been delayed in Auckland -- it was a busy time with 12 departures anyway -- but she was unaware of any other delays around the country. Hayden said the breakdown was "rare but not unexpected". It had happened about five times in the past three years.

Passengers and planes were stranded at airports across the country on December 22 when crucial communication links between air traffic controllers crashed.

Airways Corp blamed that on a malfunction in a central computer. Civil Aviation has been investigating that breakdown but a spokesman could not be contacted yesterday on the latest problem.

Hayden said the incidents were not related.

Airways Corp introduced the $92 million revolutionary air traffic control system in 1991.

At that time old sweeping radar screens were replaced with computerised displays showing not only an aircraft's location but its altitude, call sign and route.

A letter written by controllers to corporation directors on December 24 refers to the radar failure of the previous day and suggests "there is probably worse to come".

Controllers fear a plan by the corporation to centralise its radar, computers and operations staff in Christchurch leaves air control operations wide open to catastrophic scenarios, such as earthquakes. They believe it's better to spread the risk between Auckland and Christchurch.

But corporation group manager of air navigation services Ashley Smout said Christchurch already controlled the bottom half of the North Island, all Wellington traffic and aircraft in the South Island. Last December's "software glitch" had nothing to do with centralisation.

Meanwhile, a report into the corporation has concluded its restructuring is being carried out in a commercially-sound way. Last week, Minister of State-owned Enterprises Mark Burton called for a report from the Crown Company Monitoring Unit (CCMAU) after the Sunday Star-Times reported redundant air traffic controllers were having to be rehired on temporary contracts to work in Christchurch

Link to story:

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 29, 2000


Carl, do you actually read the articles that you copy, cut and paste into this forum? If you did, you would realise that y2k is not an issue.

What is your purpose in posting all this irrelevant information?

-- Mr. Sane (, January 29, 2000.


Thanks for the posting.

-- spider (, January 29, 2000.

Carl, please continue to post the information you have been gathering from around the world. It's giving us a schematic to what is going on, not only here in the U.S., but also outside of our borders.

Mr. Sane, find someplace else to lurk. Your comments are irrelevant.

-- TrollStomper (DoomersUnited@TB2000.Net), January 29, 2000.

"...restructuring is being carried out in a commercially-sound way."

And someday the inhabitants will write reams of social commentary on the insanity of a society that considered 'commercially sound' to be the epitome of measures.

-- Shelia (, January 29, 2000.

Carl, i appreciate all the posts you make. please continue as long as you are willing to devote time to this endeavor.

mr sane, how do you know this is not y2k related? maybe it is, maybe it isn't. neither one of us knows, however it is of definite interest to this board because this is just the type of problems that one would expect of a y2k glitch. this is the type of info that makes us all aware of what is going on, let each reader decide for himself. as for me, i am still watching and waiting to see what will happen. maybe there will be significant problems, maybe not. however i tend to think there will be more due to the fact that there has already been a number of significant problems. do you really think that any airline is going to want to admit to y2k problems? most businesses will do whatever they can to avoid that label. the severity of future problems remains to be seen.

-- boop (, January 29, 2000.

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