Hong Kong Travel & Transport

New air traffic system stumped by unusual commands, prompting urgent switch back to old system

A new air traffic management system under testing at the Hong Kong airport briefly malfunctioned on Thursday.

The new system did not function properly during a brief period as it was unable to process unusual commands entered by an employee, sources told local media. The existing system was quickly put in use to continue managing air traffic.

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Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.

The new system was introduced gradually since June of this year and has met controversy over its gigantic cost and concerns about whether it meets safety standards. A report seen by Ming Pao last year and put together by the Air Traffic Management Standards Office stated that the new system’s reliability during crises was low.

See also: Row over safety of HK$570m air traffic control system divides Civil Aviation Department

Unusual commands were put into the system yesterday as special air traffic arrangements were needed. The system then experienced delays, according to Ming Pao.

The Civil Aviation Department told Ming Pao that it had already found the problem and is working to follow up and improve the system.

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Airport Express concourse. Photo GovHK.

The system failure also did not affect any air traffic or air safety, it said. It also told local media that the plans to use the system fully starting from October or November have not changed.

New air traffic system stumped by unusual commands, prompting urgent switch back to old system