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1998-02-04 23:24:38


British Air Controllers Face Y2K Problem



It is not just the U.S. Government's Federal Aviation Administration that is dependent on noncompliant computers. The British face the same problem.

This is from the London TELEGRAPH (Jan. 22).

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FLIGHTS from Britain will suffer severe disruptions and cancellations at the end of 1999 and lasting several months because British air traffic control computers suffer from the Millennium bug.

The core of British air traffic control systems, operated by the Civil Aviation Authority, use model 4381 mainframe computers which are not ready for the century change at the end of 1999, according to their maker, IBM. Experts and academics warned last week that time to fix the bug safely has run out. British Airways, which is investing millions to correct its own systems, said the revelation that it cannot depend on British air traffic control systems means it cannot guarantee all flights will take off at the end of next year.

A spokesman for the airline said: "It's not something that we want to operate under. We could go back to the old method of air traffic control by radio and paper maps, but it will seriously limit the volume of traffic." . . .

According to a CAA spokesman, the authority is planning to complete its fixes on its air traffic control systems by March 1999, but academics and experts warn this will be too late and will not allow enough time for testing. . . .

Ross Anderson, a lecturer in computer studies at Cambridge University who specialises in computer security and safety, said it was highly likely that air traffic will be disrupted in 2000 because of mistakes made in racing to fix the bug on more than 200 systems on which the British and European air transport networks depend, including ticketing, fuel control and freight dispatch systems.


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