May 4, 2017 12:57 pm
Updated: May 4, 2017 8:50 pm

Flights resume at Edmonton International Airport after air traffic control problem

WATCH ABOVE: There were some delays at Edmonton International Airport Thursday morning. As Julia Wong reports, planes weren't going anywhere after a ground stop was issued.


Editor’s Note: The Edmonton International Airport originally said both arrivals and departures were affected, however later clarified to say inbound flights were able to land. 

Some flights were temporarily halted at the Edmonton International Airport due to a problem with air traffic control Thursday morning.

An EIA spokesperson said at 10:45 a.m., the airport was under a “ground stop,” meaning departing flights were not able to take off.

About 45 minutes later, the airport tweeted out an update, saying the ground stop was being lifted. The airport said some flights were departing and the issue was being resolved.

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NAV Canada is responsible for all air navigation services in Canada.

Spokesperson Ron Singer said there was a problem with the flight data processing system, which is the flight dispatch system. He said the error occurred at around 8:35 a.m. and the system was down for about one hour.

“That didn’t affect the air traffic controllers’ ability to see the air planes or speak to the air planes,” Singer said. “It’s just part of our traffic flow management from the dispatching from the airlines. That caused us to put a delay program on for a little over an hour.

“Departures from the Calgary airport were held up and there were a few other delays. For the Edmonton airport, there were seven flights that were affected but at no time was there any risk to safety.”

NAV Canada said there was still no word Thursday afternoon as to why the problem occurred in the first place.

Singer said Calgary was the only other airport to have a ground stop.

NAV Canada said radar and communications were still working during the outage. It sent out a tweet around 11:30 a.m. saying, “A system issue at our Edmonton Centre has been resolved, flights gradually returning to normal. We regret any inconvenience.”

According to NAV Canada’s website, the Edmonton air traffic centre is responsible for the airspace above the territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, most of Nunavut; and the provinces of Alberta, portions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

NAV Canada said that makes the Edmonton operation responsible for the largest FIR, or Flight Information Region, of its kind in the world.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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