Airservices Australia released a statement regarding the flight delays and passenger chaos at Sydney airport, emphatically ruling it out as a cyber incident.
The company said it "experienced a software issue affecting Sydney Airport’s air traffic control and management system, resulting in major disruptions to flight operations this morning".
Airservices said the software fault failed to convert from night-shift operations to day-shift operations, resulting in only one air traffic control console being operational for the morning peak, when in normal circumstances six to eight consoles are operating.
"The fault has now been rectified, and Airservices is now working to resume to normal operations and clear the backlog of flights. Airservices is confident that it was not a cyber incident, it was a hardware failure," the statement said.
Airservices is leading and managing the delivery of project AIR 5431 Phase 3, which was recently placed on Defence's projects of concern list.
Under the project, Australia will be providing air traffic control services using the most advanced and integrated air traffic control system in the world, according to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 will acquire the Defence element of the Civil Military Air Traffic Management System (CMATS) that will be used for the provision of Air Base Air Traffic Services (ABATS) to both civil and military aircraft. CMATS will replace the air traffic management and control systems at nine military approach control sites and 12 military towers around Australia.
AIR 5431 Phase 3 is being progressed jointly with Airservices Australia Future Services Division program, collectively known as OneSKY Australia, to acquire, sustain and operate a more harmonised National ATM (air traffic management) system. Airservices and Defence view OneSKY as an opportunity that is essential for the future performance of Australia’s aviation industry.
Defence has said the future National ATM system architecture will cater for greater collaboration between Airservices and Defence, and that procurement of a common system will increase seamless ATM capability with minimal risk and enhance national airspace security and contingency response.
AIR5431 Phase 3 also includes the provision of an Approach ATM automation simulator at the School of Air Traffic Control at RAAF Base East Sale and an operational maintenance trainer to be located at RAAF Base Amberley.
Thales Australia will work with Airservices and Defence to deliver this new system.