A “technical glitch” with flight systems at Cape Town International Airport, compounded by a fatal air ambulance crash which claimed five lives caused flight delays for most of Sunday morning.
The “glitch” is understood to relate flight slot co-ordination, which allocates an order for incoming and departing air traffic.
Percy Morokane, the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) Company spokesperson, said the technical failure “could have been experienced anywhere in the world”.
“We are dealing with the issue of flight delays at present. In Cape Town, flights are operating normally after the issues with the slot coordination this morning. We are of the opinion that this was only an issue in Cape Town but obviously other arterial routes may be affected because of the air traffic moving between the major hubs,” he said.
Morokane emphasised that the air crash involving an aeromedical fixed-wing aircraft from Namibia bound for Cape Town could not be linked to the system failure.
“These two incidents are being treated separately and each will have independent investigations to establish the cause of each.”
“The South African Department of Transport’s Aircraft Accident Investigations Unit is investigating this incident. As ATNS we are required to provide a report of what transpired, and that includes communication between the pilot and our ATC [air traffic control] on duty and any other related information to such an authority,” Morokane added.
Five people, including a patient, were killed when a medical plane crashed in the Plattekloof area in Cape Town on Sunday morning.
The plane, coming from Namibia, went missing off the radar at 06:50 on Sunday morning, EMS spokesperson Mark van der Heever told News24.