Southwest Airlines Grapples With Another Outage, Halting Flights
Updated June 15, 2021 at 4:22 PM ET
Less than 24 hours after a data problem disrupted Southwest Airlines flights across the U.S., the airline was once again hit by outages, leading the Federal Aviation Administration to order a temporary halt to new Southwest departures.
The company said Tuesday it had a "brief pause" in its flight activity "resulting from intermittent performance issues with our network connectivity."
Spokesperson Chris Mainz said the company proactively canceled about 500 flights, but was working to resume normal operations.
The FAA said it was temporarily keeping Southwest flights across the country from departing airports. The agency said it was ordering the halt "while the company resolved a reservation computer issue."
Southwest was reporting at least 1,233 flights delayed and 478 canceled as of Tuesday afternoon, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks airline cancellations, delays and other issues globally.
Earlier, a nationwide weather data outage had disrupted Southwest flights Monday night, causing long delays for some passengers. The company blamed the problem on issues with Southwest's third-party weather data provider.
Southwest said it saw no indication the two outages were related to the same underlying problem but was looking into it.
A company spokesman for Southwest told NPR that the delay Monday night was from a system that "experienced intermittent performance issues" that prevented weather information from being sent to flight crews. That information is required to safely operate the plane, Dan Landson with Southwest Airlines said in an email.
"While Southwest Teams and the vendor worked to restore connectivity, we implemented a ground stop to protect the safety of our crews and customers," Landson said.
It appears the system went down roughly around 9 p.m. ET Monday. By midnight, the airline said it was able to resume some flight operations.
Still, flights experienced residual delays throughout the night. For Monday, Southwest reported 1,415 delays, according to FlightAware.com.
Dozens of frustrated passengers from Denver to Florida took to social media Monday with their complaints and reports of flights being delayed for hours. Some said they were stuck on an airport tarmac for an hour or more.
Can confirm. Entire Southwest fleet is grounded because their weather provider is down, preventing them from printing out physical copies of the weather for flight crews. FAA regulations say we can’t take off without a weather packet. Going on 2 hours on the tarmac here.— Alex Guyot (@_alexguyot) June 15, 2021
The company's representatives responded quickly to those complaints with repeated apologies and promises to get back in the air as soon as possible.
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