Computer glitch hits two airlines

Computer glitch hits two airlines

A computer glitch in the flight operations systems of U.S. Airways and American Airlines, both of which are hosted by Electronic Data Systems Corp., caused flights to be grounded for about three hours Sunday.

Arlington, Va.-based U.S. Airways Group Inc. grounded its flights Sunday morning to process flights and restore the automated system, according to a statement issued by the airline.

U.S. Airways said approximately 100 flights were delayed. The delay lasted until about 9:45 a.m. Eastern time, according to the statement.

A U.S. Airways spokeswoman referred further questions to EDS.

"We can confirm there was an issue with the flight operations system serving U.S. Airways and American Airlines," said Kevin Lightfoot, a spokesman for Plano, Texas-based EDS. "Our investigation indicated that it was an unintentional human error that caused the error."

He declined to say whether the error was caused by an EDS employee or an employee at one of the airlines.

Lightfoot said EDS's operation teams caught the problem early and took the system down in an orderly, proactive fashion to fix it and prevent a more extensive system outage.

He said that the flight system was back up and running within three hours and that public safety wasn't affected in any way.

An American Airlines Inc. spokeswoman agreed that the safety of air travelers was never in jeopardy. She said it was her understanding that the glitch was caused by a technical error.

"There was a technical error that made our flight operations system go down. That (system) does everything with our crew scheduling, it does things with our flight plans," said Jacquie Young, a spokeswoman for Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines.

Young said that the glitch caused two-hour delays systemwide and that nearly all of the airline's 2,200 daily flights were affected because of a "ripple effect."

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