'Computer glitch' grounds all United Airlines flights

What was reported to be a glitch in the computer software that manages US  United Airlines's automated operations brought the airline's flights to a screeching halt - temporarily - Wednesday morning.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop on all flights under the United banner at 8:26 a.m. EST except for regional partner flights, which were allowed to resume operations about 15 minutes after the grounding, according to CNN. The ban was lifted a little before 9:47 a.m.

The problem also forced staff to hand write tickets at multiple airports with United saying that nearly 4,900 flights were affected worldwide.

“An issue with a router degraded network connectivity for various applications, causing this morning's operational disruption," an airline spokesperson said in a statement emailed to SCMagazine.com. "We fixed the router issue, which is enabling us to restore normal functions.”

In an email to SCMagazineUK.com  Scott Abney, CEO, SQS USA commented: "This is just the latest glitch to affect airline industry in recent months. In fact, United Airlines suffered an earlier glitch in June of this year, lasting over 30 minutes. And, in April of 2015, American Airlines was grounded due to a software issue with pilot iPads, preventing planes from taking off. These incidents stress the need to ensure proper quality governance, and how lack of continuous software quality management can lead to potentially catastrophic failures such as these.

"Increasing demand on airline fleet, combined with ever more complex Airline Information Systems, with customised and off-the-shelf components, have created a need to move beyond the legacy systems the industry is currently relying on, to more efficiently run systems, ensuring seamless integration of multiple platforms.  Providing for improved quality governance and quality management, at the beginning of the software development lifecycle, and throughout, would help mitigate some of these issues, ensuring more safe, and reliable management of every aspect of an airline's operation."

 

Scott Abney, CEO, SQS USA

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