An array of airline outages due to data centre failures

Southwest was one of the airlines that grounded its planes last week

In the past few years, airlines have witnesses its fair share of major IT failures that resulted in flight delays, stranded passengers, cancelled flights costing millions of dollars.

Southwest Airlines

Last week, Southwest Airlines joined the list of airlines that experienced a data centre outage causing grounded flights for around 40 minutes on Monday.

On twitter, the airline is still dealing with the aftermath of disgruntled customers asking for refunds for flight delays and cancellations as of yesterday.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue said it was experiencing delays following a problem with AeroData last week.

AeroData logs the weight and balance of a plane giving references for flight planning. It suffered an unstipulated fault that brought its servers offline for a period of time last week.

United, JetBlue, Alaska, Southwest and Delta were all affected, resulting in some of the airlines listed, unable to produce paperwork.

Looking at recent events, airline data centre outages are more common than expected.


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British Airways

British Airways filed a lawsuit against its data centre supplier CBRE for its 2017 outage that left 75,000 passengers stranded.

The outage in May 2017 resulted in the cancellation of 672 flights and left tens of thousands of passengers with nowhere to go.

It was reported that passenger check-in and operating systems was at large affected, and the disruption to communications meant that the airline also struggled to contact staff.

Delta Airlines

The Delta Airlines data centre outage grounded about 2,000 flights over three days in August 2016 costing the company $150m in total.

A piece of electrical component at its Atlanta headquarters failed which led to a shutdown of the transformer providing power to the airline’s data centre.

The average cost of a single data centre outage is around $730,000, according to an Emerson Network Power-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute released in 2016.