Computer Error Grounds Japanese Flights

Event Year: 2003 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: Japan
Industry Type: Transportation

Flights were canceled and many others were delayed at airports across Japan after the nation’s main air control system broke down. The system has a backup, but both systems went down at the same time. (#1) The troubled flight data-processing system at Tokyo Air Traffic Control Center in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, automatically transmits flight information to airports across Japan.  The system had some programs partially replaced in the system that exchanges flight plans with the Defense Agency, and it went down immediately after it was turned on following the replacement. (#2)


According to airline officials, more than 20,000 passengers were affected. All aircraft for domestic and international flights were grounded for at least 30 minutes after the failure. About 1,000 flights were delayed for 30 minutes or longer with the longest delay being five hours and 50 minutes. (#1)