German airports fall into chaos after severed cable grounds all Lufthansa flights

German flag carrier Lufthansa had to temporarily suspend all operations on Wednesday after a severed internet cable took all of its communications systems offline. The outage led to numerous flights being canceled, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. 

The incident began, the airline said, after construction workers accidentally drilled through fiber optic cables near Frankfurt, Germany. This caused “an outage of Lufthansa’s IT systems at Frankfurt Airport,” the airline said on Twitter, causing all flight operations to be halted while Lufthansa techs rushed to fix the problem. 

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By the afternoon, Lufthansa tweeted that “flight operations are currently stabilizing,” adding that all flights were expected to be on schedule by Thursday. 

The simple act of wires being cut caused a massive ripple effect, though. Reuters reported that more than 200 flights were canceled in Frankfurt, which The New York Times noted is “Lufthansa’s main hub in Germany and the international airport is the country’s largest.”

In addition to the cancellations, aviation tracking website FlightAware showed more than 137 Lufthansa flights had been delayed, though this number was starting to rectify itself by the afternoon. 

The severing of the cables was further addressed by Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s primary telecom provider. The company wrote on Twitter that “technicians are already on site. Due to the considerable damage and situation on the construction site, the remedy will be extremely difficult.”

This is the second time in less than a week that construction work has caused a mass power outage in Germany. 

This past Friday, the Times reported that “an excavator working in Düsseldorf damaged 17 fiber-optic lines in a single accident…severing services for thousands of customers, including the state police for North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany’s federal statistics offices, for several hours.”

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