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Why Windows 3.1 is a danger to airports, operating systems, and efficiency

Nov. 13, 2015

A Parisian airport is crippled by outdated technology.

Is there anything scarier than an outdated operating system? If you are a Parisian airport, then the answer is no. Last week, a French airport was brought to a standstill thanks to a computer glitch within its Windows 3.1 operating system, which came to market in 1992.

You would be dumbfounded if a colleague used Windows 3.1 on their PC, let alone an airport using such outdated technology for one of its core programs. DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots, runs on Windows 3.1.

According to Alexandre Fiacre, the secretary general of France's UNSA-IESSA air traffic controller union: "The issue with a system that old is that people don't like to do maintenance work. Furthermore, we are starting to lose the expertise [to deal] with that type of operating system. In Paris, we have only three specialists who can deal with DECOR-related issues," said Fiacre. "One of them is retiring next year, and we haven't found anyone to replace him," he added.

Who knew that the skill shortage would affect the aviation industry too?

To learn more about the shutdown, visit Vice News.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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