Reporting sick by air traffic controller shuts down Eindhoven Airport for hours

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No air traffic is possible at Eindhoven Airport until half past one on Friday afternoon, because an employee has reported sick. It concerns a radar operator of the military air traffic control at Schiphol. This military branch regulates air traffic at both Eindhoven Airport and the adjacent air force base.

The man called in sick on Friday morning when he came to work. “Normally we can take care of that, but when someone calls in sick so late, there is little we can do,” said a spokesman for Eindhoven Air Base. “Moreover, it is vacation time and we are thin in the air traffic controllers. That is also why we currently have vacancies outstanding.”

An air traffic controller is a specialist in his region. “You can’t just drop traffic controllers from another region,” said the spokesman. “Air traffic controllers know their own region like the back of their hand.”

Military air traffic control
Initially it was reported that the problem was at Air Traffic Control the Netherlands at Schiphol, which is responsible for safe traffic flows in Dutch airspace. But according to a spokesman for that service, the problem lies with military air traffic control. This regulates air traffic at both Eindhoven Airport and the adjacent air force base.

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