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Swiss airspace closed

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Swiss airspace closed

Old 15th Jun 2022, 16:26
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: France
Posts: 490
For all intent and purpose (ATC, border control, regulation) BSL is a French airport. With some exceptions / provisions for a "swiss" and a "german" sector. But it is France who runs the show.
Now that may be so ... however I would question the totality of this statement .... when there were French ATC strikes in the last few years, all flights from the Swiss sector operated correctly, and there are both French and Swiss border control officers (customs and immigration) on duty. Please correct me if I'm wrong ... but kindly please! ... as yes, the airport is built on French land with a gated road from Switzerland to the Swiss side, with border checkpoints on levels 2 and 3 (landside and airside) and that the 'airport' consists of two entities BSL (Swiss) and MLH (French) and a global reference EUR (Euroairport for both combined).

Wikipedia notes ....EuroAirport is one of the few airports in the world operated jointly by two countries, in this case France and Switzerland. It is governed by a 1949 international convention. The headquarters of the airport's operations are located in Blotzheim, France. The airport is located completely on French soil; it also has a Swiss customs border and is connected to the Swiss customs area by a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi)-long customs-free road to Basel, allowing air travellers access into Switzerland bypassing French customs clearance. The airport is operated via a state treaty established in 1946 wherein the two countries (Switzerland and France) are granted access to the airport without any customs or other border restrictions. The airport's board has eight members each from France and Switzerland and two advisers from Germany.

The airport building is split into two separate sections: Swiss and French. Though the entire airport is on French soil and under French jurisdiction, the Swiss authorities have the authority to apply Swiss laws regarding customs, medical services and police work in the Swiss section, including the customs road connecting Basel with the airport. French police are allowed to execute random checks in the Swiss section as well. With Switzerland joining the Schengen Treaty in March 2009, the air side was rearranged to include a Schengen and non-Schengen zone. As border control is staffed by both Swiss and French border officers, passengers departing to or arriving from non-Schengen countries may receive either a Swiss or French passport stamp, depending on which officer they happen to approach.

Due to its international status, EuroAirport has three IATA airport codes: BSL (Basel) is the Swiss code, MLH (Mulhouse) is the French code and EAP (EuroAirport) is the neutral code. The ICAO airport code is LFSB,

(My apologies that I cannot remove the embedded links or change the colour of them.)
Alsacienne is online now  
Old 15th Jun 2022, 16:44
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: 59°45'36N 10°27'59E
Posts: 1,020
Most ACCs I know of have an emergency surveillance system that is approved as fall back to empty the airspace and provide limited service for limited periods of time. (Some HOSP/SAR/MIL, as well as catering for planned downtime of main systems. Think software upgrade or similar)

And for those that get all fired up about there not being a procedural fallback: As ATC Watchers says, its all about money, and NO ONE is willing to pay for any of that. And to be real, there is really no need, the fallbacks that are in place are adequate.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 20:26
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 88
European en-route ATCO here.

It's an interesting topic, and rather surprising Skyguide had such a failure in the modern era, but, it is not the "screen is gone, we don't know who is out there" type of scenario that many articles would have you believe.. A backup reduced redundancy radar is available to use, in the event of main screen total failure. It is perfectly OK to use, and controllers are able to use it just fine, but in the instance of a main failure, the procedure, as approved by the regulator, is to 'clear the skies'. This is due to the fact if you are operating on a backup, and that fails, what happens then? Regulators do not have an appetite for this type of risk.

Regarding procedural control, it is true that us modern European controllers are not rated/certified in procedural control, however in our refresher training twice a year, we do train for the total failure of all radar screens, including backup, so as to use pen and paper separation. This is based on position reports relative to known waypoints/geographical locations. The controller uses their merit and experience to clear aircraft onwards onto adjacent centres and empty the airspace. Also, most adjacent centres would be able to see a good chunk into your airspace, so realistically, all goes blank, you would ring your colleague next door to ask them to point out your traffic and take them early.

Most centres would also still have some controllers of a generation that routinely used procedural separation in the past, they would be called to observe/sit in. Should we have total radar/VHF failure, we would be ringing an adjacent centre, from a mobile telephone should it be required, and asking them to pick up the last frequencies in use, in order to speak to aircraft. It should be noted that we operate on a 'positive control' philosophy, and that any clearances/instructions issued are given with the idea in the back of your mind that the screen goes dark any second. Every clearance should be safe for you to walk away from, or else that is not positive control.

System failure is one of the most trained aspects of our job, and we would be just fine to separate based on a back up system, but like I mentioned, the regulator in most cases only approves a 'clear the skies' procedure, due to the reduced redundancy of the system. I do suspect this is what Skyguide safely carried out this morning, before returning to normal operations upon restoration of main systems.

Cheers to all pilots - we'd all be on permanent break without you.
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Old 16th Jun 2022, 09:20
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Alsacienne View Post
(My apologies that I cannot remove the embedded links or change the colour of them.)
You can strip out links, etc, by pasting the original text into a text editor like notepad, which won't support the links, then copy the text from the text editor and paste it here.

Due to its international status, EuroAirport has three IATA airport codes: BSL (Basel) is the Swiss code, MLH (Mulhouse) is the French code and EAP (EuroAirport) is the neutral code. The ICAO airport code is LFSB,
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Old 16th Jun 2022, 15:57
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Thanks for the explanation speed_alive_v1, glad to know there is one solid back up. Same principle as 2 pilots on a flight deck and 2 engines on (most) aircraft.
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Old 16th Jun 2022, 18:49
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 88
Thanks, and yes exactly that - in aviation we do complain and moan about conditions and internal issues (as we need to) but ours is an industry based on total redundancy. Such to the point that the expectation of routine is to move approx 100,000 flights globally, per day, without undue hazard. 99% safety is nowhere near good enough.

If only other industries were of equal standing!
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Old 17th Jun 2022, 09:16
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: CYUL
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Curious… what happened to the aircrafts already in flight that were either in Swiss airspace or about to enter Swiss airspace on their way to their destinations?

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Old 17th Jun 2022, 12:59
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Southampton
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Originally Posted by Imagegear View Post
So why did the failover system not work ?

Swiss airspace suffers from Swiss cheese syndrome.
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Old 19th Jun 2022, 10:16
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: London
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Originally Posted by Jet Jockey A4 View Post
Curious… what happened to the aircrafts already in flight that were either in Swiss airspace or about to enter Swiss airspace on their way to their destinations?
If you read the thread, and in particular the post from speed_alive_v1 just a few posts above your own, your curiosity will be satisfied.
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Old 19th Jun 2022, 20:29
  #30 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Dodo Island
Posts: 65
In any case the issue began aroud 4am. Only few aircrafts overflying and only a few long range inbound that diverted.
Would have been a very different story during a busy winter day

Interestingly according to SkyGuide (in press reports this WE) they still don’t know what happened. It was a networking issue but they have not yet come to an explanation as of how it failed…

Last edited by zambonidriver; 20th Jun 2022 at 07:40.
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