NEW DELHI: Thousands of passengers had a harrowing time Saturday early morning as flight operations of Air India were hit for over five hours after a software glitch was reported in its main server.
The national carrier said that a "breakdown" in its server from 3:30 am to 8:45 am affected its flights all over the world. As a result, 150 AI flights are likely to face delays of about two hours till 8.30 pm today. During the shutdown, the airline said its PSS (passenger service system) software, which looks after check-in, baggage and reservation, failed to function.
The software is handled by SITA, an air transport IT and communications specialist. Incidentally, SITA said that the snag happened during system maintenance and affected only Air India.
After supervising the situation at Delhi Airport, AI Chairman Ashwani Lohani said that the system has been restored but warned of delays as it will take time to normalise the situation. "The SITA system resumed at 8.45 am. Up to 10 am, 85 of our flights were delayed. The ripple effect of the delays will be felt mainly on domestic flights till Saturday night."
#AirIndia passenger system server operated by #SITA affected due to difficult system issue while undergoing scheduled maintenance. Due to technical glitch in server, Flight operation will be affected through out the day.#Report: Shiela pic.twitter.com/d4Zy4wGJaI— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) April 27, 2019
As of now, the airline has rescheduled 18 flights for Saturday and cancelled some more. "International flights will not face much impact barring a few like the Shanghai departure being delayed by 1.5 hours. The afternoon departures for Europe will leave with a delay of 15 to 30 minutes," Lohani added.
"SITA experienced a complex system issue during server maintenance early this morning, which resulted in operational disruption to AI flights. We have now fully restored services at all airports where Air India were affected," affirmed SITA spokesman Julius Baumann, adding that it is undertaking a complete investigation to understand the root cause and prevent a recurrence.
The airline operates 470 flights per day while the Air India Group provides 674 flight services.