Travel chaos and delays for thousands of passengers in Europe after Amsterdam air traffic failure and Italy strikes

THOUSANDS of passengers were hit with travel chaos today after a major air traffic failure at one of Europe's busiest transportation hubs as well as strikes in Italy.

A malfunction in the control systems at Amsterdam Schiphol caused dozens of flights to be cancelled leaving travellers facing long delays.

Meanwhile in Italy, ground handlers went on strike for four hours causing multiple cancellations including Ryanair flights to and from Bologna.

The problems in Amsterdam were resolved around 4pm, but it took hours for operations to return to normal.

A spokeswoman for Air Traffic Control the Netherlands said it was still unclear what caused the malfunction, but ruled out the possibility of a cyber attack.

Air France-KLM, the national Dutch carrier, said it had scrapped 50 flights, including round trips to Heathrow, Paris, Nantes and Hanover.

Delays ran up to more than four hours on other flights, a KLM spokesman said.

A spokesman for Schiphol could not give an exact number of cancellations and delays, but the airport's website showed problems with almost all incoming and outgoing afternoon flights.

On its website, Eurocontrol, Europe's organisation for air traffic control coordination and planning, showed a large number of flights to Schiphol were delayed more than 30 minutes.

In a notice, it said aeroplanes could opt to divert to other airports.

A major computer malfunction in February crippled traffic at Schiphol for hours, causing delays or cancellations on more than 100 flights.

Schiphol received more than 63 million passengers in 2016, making it the third-busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

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