|Who tripped over the power lead?|
Julian Bray Aviation expert writes: Following on from my AP Radio interview, it has to be said that Delta Air Lines having resumed flight operations, is now handing out a relatively small number of compensatory cash-in vouchers, in an attempt to keep many hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged customers happy... following a massive computer power outage, that needlessly crippled the airline, for more than six hours on Monday.
We say 'needlessly' as serious questions are now being asked in aviation circles, if the Delta board and senior management of the airline, has in fact adopted an all too common industry-wide 'band-aid' [Elastoplast] sticking plaster policy, constantly patching up an ageing core legacy system as needed, and has not fully invested over the years in its computing set up, constantly upgrading and renewing systems. Has the management gone for 'penny pinching' a series of cheaper options, possibly just loading an 'all singing and dancing front-end' onto a very old legacy system that could still have lines of software originally written some thirty years ago?! If it ain't broke, then don't fix it! It not new or just Delta, many airlines still rely on bits of 'legacy' kit and lines of software probably written before the first 'Back to the Future' film was commissioned.
Putting in a new generation (possibly a 'cloud' system) and initially running it in tandem with the old patched up core system would make the transition relatively uncomplicated. Simply the software at the core of the Delta system was probably designed for the pre-smartphone era, and possibly pre-laptop too!
The airline blamed 'a power outage', now how much would it cost to have a standby generator set system ready to fire up should the normal grid power supply fail? Even if generators had to be hired in. Firms like Aggreko could have a temporary generator set up and running within the hour, if the hook-up wiring is already in place, and how much would that have saved? Simply the cost is negligible, against the colossal financial and industry status fall out from a huge unplanned for outage or any breakdown in what for customers and the industry, has to be considered a core basic service.
According to Delta, a "major system-wide network outage" on Monday had delayed flights worldwide. The widespread computer problem they say was caused by a power outage at its headquarters in Atlanta. The outage meant flights worldwide were being delayed and airport screens and Delta's website were not showing updated flight status information. Or put another way if you pull out the main plug on your smart TV, (or any TV) the screen will go blank. The same goes for the domestic washing machine, NO power, NO washy! That in effect is what happened, but who pulled the plug and why was an alternative back up electricity supply route not available? We should be told!
"A power outage in Atlanta, which began at 2:38 a.m. ET (6:38 a.m. GMT), has impacted Delta computer systems and operations worldwide, resulting in flight delays and cancellations today," Delta said.
"A Delta ground stop has been lifted and limited departures are resuming following a power outage in Atlanta that impacted Delta computer systems and operations worldwide. Cancellations and delays continue.
"Customers heading to the airport should expect delays and cancellations. While inquiries are high and wait times are long, our customer service agents are doing everything they can to assist. There may also be some lag time in the display of accurate flight status at , the Fly Delta App and from Delta representatives on the phone and in airport."
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