Tech glitch causes minor delays for global airlines

Major airlines around the world, including Singapore Airlines, were briefly hit by computer problems yesterday, causing some minor delays at airports, owing to a glitch with a system from Spanish travel technology firm Amadeus.
Major airlines around the world, including Singapore Airlines, were briefly hit by computer problems yesterday, causing some minor delays at airports, owing to a glitch with a system from Spanish travel technology firm Amadeus. PHOTO: ST FILE

MADRID • Major airlines around the world, including Singapore Airlines, were briefly hit by computer problems yesterday, causing some minor delays at airports, owing to a glitch with a system from Spanish travel technology firm Amadeus.

The company operates global travel booking systems and offers check-in services for more than 130 airlines.

"Amadeus confirms that, during the morning, we experienced a network issue that caused disruption to some of our systems," it said in a statement, and later confirmed that "our systems are recovered and are now functioning normally".

Airports said the disruption was limited, Reuters reported.

In Singapore, Changi Airport warned travellers shortly before 7pm, via its social media channels, to expect a longer check-in process as manual boarding passes would have to be issued because of "a technical issue affecting the check-in systems of some airlines".

A Singapore Airlines spokesman told The Straits Times that it was notified at about 5.30pm about a global outage affecting some of its systems, and that its engineers were working to rectify the issue.

Changi Airport did not comment on whether all airlines that experienced network issues use the Amadeus Altea software.

The situation appeared normal when ST arrived at Changi Airport at about 8.30pm.

Queues at the counters for Qantas, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines - three of the airlines said to be affected - were moving normally. Other airlines did not appear to be experiencing delays either.

A similar incident occurred in April, when computer issues briefly prevented airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, from boarding passengers one evening.

Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport said on Twitter that Germany's largest carrier Lufthansa and partner airlines had been hit by a problem for around 30 minutes yesterday morning, which prevented bags from being checked in, but said the issue had been resolved.

London's Gatwick Airport also said its airlines had some "brief issues" but were now operating as normal.

A spokesman for Groupe ADP, which operates and manages more than a dozen airports in the greater Paris region, confirmed that airlines using the Amadeus system had been affected at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle Airport.

"This was a worldwide failure (of the Amadeus system). We were no worse affected than other airports. It lasted only a few minutes," the spokesman said.

He said national carrier Air France was among the airlines that used Amadeus.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Southwest Airlines reported a computer issue causing a few minor delays at Reagan National Airport of up to 16 minutes but there were no other issues at present.

Amadeus competes with Sabre Corp and Travelport Worldwide, with the Spanish company the dominant provider of bookings systems in Europe.

•Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Tech glitch causes minor delays for global airlines'. Print Edition | Subscribe