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Belgium closes airspace after flight data processing system failure

Air traffic over Belgium has been temporarily suspended after flight data processing system failed, according to the country's air traffic controller Belgocontrol.

The flight data processing system of the Belgian traffic controller has at some point failed to trace the aircraft location over Belgiums territory, prompting the Belgocontrol to take an “ultimate safety measure” and “clear the sky,” the local De Morgen daily reported.

Due to an exceptional situation air traffic is temporarily suspended. Belgocontrol is looking in to it. We are closely monitoring the situation. We will keep you informed. https://t.co/mOB9nE2edN

— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) July 19, 2018

The air controller was also unable to determine the destination, altitude and speed of the planes that were in the air, it added.

"The airspace was closed for security reasons, in what we refer to as a 'clear the sky' (procedure)," Belgocontrol's spokesman Alain Kniebs told AFP, calling the incident "very exceptional."
The Belgian airspace was closed shortly after 16:00 (local time) (14:00 GMT). The measure is expected to remain in effect at least until 17:00 GMT, according to Reuters.

All flights en route to Belgian airports were rerouted while those scheduled to depart from Belgium were kept on the ground.

Problem with the flight data processing system in Belgium's lower airspace (below 24,500 ft/7,500 metres): the regulation has been extended to 17.00UTC (19.00 local time). Currently very few flights in/out of Belgian airports. https://t.co/AlePJoj0Qv

— EUROCONTROL (@eurocontrol) July 19, 2018

Another Belgocontrol spokesperson, Dominique Dehaene, told the media that there was “no threat of any kind.”

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