American Airlines is working to rebuild its schedules after resuming flights following computer malfunctions that grounded all its U.S. planes.
Delays and 670 flight cancellations yesterday are expected to continue rippling through American’s system today, said Daniel Baker, chief executive of FlightAware.com, a Houston- based flight tracking firm.
“It’s going to be pretty bad,” Baker said. “Even when they get this fixed, none of the flights today are going to be on time.”
AMR Corp.’s American hasn’t said what caused the outage to its systems, which were restored at 3:30 p.m. Dallas time. The grounding was unrelated to heightened security concerns after bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday, the airline said.
The malfunction didn’t involve airline booking and reservation systems provided by Southlake, Texas-based Sabre Holdings Corp., said Nancy St. Pierre, a Sabre spokeswoman. American apologized to Sabre in a Twitter posting after blaming the flight-booking service for the malfunction earlier.
“It’s better to shut it down elegantly rather than have it fail spectacularly” and let delays pile up anyway, said Robert Mann, a former American Airlines (AAMRQ) executive who runs aviation consulting firm R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York. “It’s a major inconvenience for customers and shippers across the system.”
The third-biggest U.S. airline, AMR Corp.’s American is operating in bankruptcy and preparing to merge with US Airways Group Inc.
At Dallas-Fort Worth International, some planes sat on ramps awaiting departure and some arrivals waited for gate space, the airport said in a statement. DFW, American’s largest hub, is mobilizing 90-passenger buses that can be used to move passengers from planes to airport terminals.
American is allowing passengers with flexible schedules to change reservations at no charge and to provide full refunds to those who can’t alter plans.
“This is a technology emergency, and when they restart they’re going to have a day’s worth of customers to re- accommodate,” said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst at Hudson Crossing in San Francisco. “I don’t think American has experienced anything like this in a long time, if at all.”
United Continental Holdings Inc. in November struggled with its third computer failure of the year when its dispatching system went down and disrupted service for about two hours. In March of last year, Chicago-based United’s website and airport kiosks were disrupted when the company combined reservation systems for United Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc. following their 2010 merger.
In 2008, an FAA failure in software that processes flight plans caused hundreds of delays in the eastern half of the U.S., as FAA workers had to manually enter data and rely on another processing system in Salt Lake City.
Source: BLOOMBERG NEWS