25 Air India flights delayed due to software malfunction

NEW DELHI, June 23: Scores of Air India passengers were stranded at several airports across the country as a technical glitch in the airline’s check-in software delayed 25 flights today, officials said.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha tendered apologies for the inconvenience caused to the passengers.

Services remained affected for three hours from 12.10 PM to 3.10 PM, the airline said.

While an Air India spokesperson told PTI that the departures of 23 flights were delayed by 15-30 minutes, the airline later tweeted putting the figure at 25 as passenger queues kept swelling at check-in counters.

Some unconfirmed report suggested that some international services were also affected at the IGI Airport here.

Air India’s software solution is managed by SITA, a global airlines IT services solution major, which provides its check-in, boarding and baggage tracking technology.

The airline blamed glitch in SITA’s central server in Atlanta for the system failure with worldwide impact.

A SITA spokesperson said that they were conducting an investigation to find out the root cause of the network connectivity issue and prevent a recurrence.

“We have been following up on this matter and the systems have now been restored. Apologies for the inconvenience suffered. @airindiain has been asked to ensure that our valued passengers are kept fully informed at all times,” Sinha tweeted in reply to a passenger who vent his ire against the airline for failing to provide information about the delays.

“Due to unexpexted network connectivity issues at SITA #Atlanta #Datacenter , which had a #worldwide impact, 25 flights were delayed from 1210 hrs to 1510 hrs on #Airindia network. Operations are normal now (sic),” the airline tweeted soon after.

“Just reached Delhi Airport and found out that Air India servers are down for the last two hours. All domestic and international flights are grounded. The airport looks like a mela of stranded passengers with hardly any space to even walk,” BlueKraft Digital Foundation CEO Akhilesh Mishra wrote on Twitter.

Another passenger, stranded at the IGI Airport here, tweeted to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to draw his attention to the passengers ordeals. “Sir please enquire about the situation of Air India flights at Delhi Airport urgently. It’s a complete chaos since last 4 hours. No flight has taken off and all passengers are extremely disturbed. The ground staff is totally ineffective in answering any query.”

Reacting to the incident, a spokesperson of SITA said, “We experienced a complex network connectivity issue at one of our data centers today, impacting primary and secondary routes, which resulted in some services to our customers being disrupted. The connection has now been restored by our network provider and services are returning to normal operations.”

“We regret any impact this incident has had on our customers and their passengers. Our priority remains, as always, to ensure a stable system so that our customers can conduct their business efficiently and effectively. We are currently conducting a full investigation to discover the root cause to establish the cause and to prevent a recurrence,” he added. (PTI)