Problems continue at Delta Airlines as the ‘ripple effect’ of early Monday’s power outage continues to spread. While it was initially thought the outage originated at Georgia Power which controls the power grid to Atlanta Airport, it was subsequently discovered that the outage started in the airline’s equipment. A Delta Airlines spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that equipment failure at the carrier’s Atlanta Headquarters had cause the power glitch. Delta is subsequently investigating why “some critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to Delta’s backup systems.”
By 12.40PM local time Monday the problem had been solved, but not before Delta Airlines’ passengers had been affected globally as all flights worldwide were grounded. Even yesterday (Tuesday), 680 flights were cancelled and 2,400 further flights were delayed, the carrier having canceled 1,000 flights on Monday. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, Delta’s operational hub, was hardest hit.
One of the reasons why the ripple effect is so great relates to load factors, which currently run at around 83% for Delta, this reducing the number of available seats to reallocate to passengers of canceled flights. Additionally, turnaround times have been minimized to increase profitability, so creating additional flights becomes virtually impossible. In reality, one delayed flight can have a knock-on effect lasting several days.
While the problem has been put down to ‘a computer glitch’, this is becoming a more common problem for airlines who struggle to keep up with ever-changing technological demands. As operating systems become larger, so they become more disconnected, particularly with the likes of linking websites, airport kiosks, mobile apps and other elements.
Last month Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel 2,000 flights as a result of problems which were caused by a network router, while last year both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines blamed computer glitches for pricing problems.
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