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Some functions of Tower Electronic Flight Strips System affected temporarily
     Some functions of the Tower Electronic Flight Strips (TEFS) System installed at the the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) was temporarily and intermittently affected yesterday afternoon (December 18). The TEFS System is a sub-system incorporated into the new Air Traffic Management System (ATMS). During the occurrence yesterday, the operations of the new ATMS and the ATC Centre were not affected. Flight movements at the Hong Kong International Airport were generally in normal operation. Aviation safety has not been undermined.  
     "At about 5pm yesterday, the workstations at the ATC Tower could not process the flight plan data of some departure flights and relevant information was then provided by the ATC Centre temporarily. During the process, arrival and overflying flights have not been affected at all. Upon investigation, it was found that the TEFS System encountered problem temporarily and intermittently. It resumed normal operation at 6.18pm after it has been fixed and re-booted, and the data has been verified," a CAD spokesman said.
     The spokesman added, "The TEFS System has already been put into operation in 2012 when the old ATMS was in operation. It serves to provide flight plan data of departure and arrival flights to Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs). As in the past, the air traffic engineers would try to reboot the TEFS System when they encountered similar situation, which would not undermine aviation safety. The ATCOs who have all undergone professional training are also able to handle this kind of known phenomenon."
     During the occurrence, the operation of the new ATMS' Main System has not been affected. The Fallback System and the Ultimate Fallback System were also operating normally and available for use at all times.
     According to the experience of the independent consultant of the Transport and Housing Bureau, National Air Traffic Services (NATS), given the complexity of the new ATMS, even with all reasonable efforts and endeavours, there could still be the possibility of having setbacks during introduction of a new system. The CAD has set up an independent expert panel to offer objective advice to the CAD on the teething issues identified since the new ATMS' commissioning. Members of the expert panel held the first meeting on December 16 and affirmed NATS' views. The expert panel will give advice to the Director-General of Civil Aviation on the teething issues of the new ATMS (including the occurrence yesterday) in the coming year.
Ends/Monday, December 19, 2016
Issued at HKT 0:32
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