"Technical issue" briefly cripples Swedish air traffic

STOCKHOLM – “A technical issue” temporarily affected air traffic control operations in large parts of Sweden on Thursday, barring planes from taking off for 90 minutes, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the glitch.

The Civil Aviation Administration said the issue had been resolved and authorities were working on getting air traffic up to speed because there had been small delays. No flights were cancelled.

Earlier, aviation authorities said “a communications problem” meant planes could not take off from three major airports, including Arlanda and Bromma in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The problem, which began at noon, also affected Landvetter airport in Sweden’s second largest city, Goteborg.

A spokesman for the government aviation agency, Per Froberg, said the problem was “definitely not” related to the November incident where a solar storm knocked out Sweden’s air traffic control systems, prompting the closure of the country’s airspace for more than an hour.

“We still do not know exactly what caused Thursday’s problem. But we can say that it was in no way linked to the November problem,” he told The Associated Press.

Last year, flights briefly disappeared from radar screens in Swedish air traffic control towers during the solar storm. No such problems were reported in neighbouring countries. The last time something similar happened in Sweden was in 1999.