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Automation Serves Up Massive Travel Delays For The Second Time This Summer

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Automation Serves Up Massive Travel Delays For The Second Time This Summer

The Federal Aviation Administration's computer system wreaked travel havoc across the East Coast this weekend after a software update gone wrong caused the cancellation of nearly 500 flights. Flights controlled by the FAA's Leesburg, Virginia, facility were restricted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday after some features of the new update failed to work correctly.

Travel Nightmare

Some of the United States' busiest hubs like Washington, D.C.'s Reagan Washington National Airport ground to a halt on Saturday, one of the busiest travel days of the week. While most airlines said they had returned to business as normal on Sunday, the incident canceled 476 Saturday flights and delayed a further 492 planes.

The glitch caused major U.S. airlines to swallow the costs. American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) shouldered the largest burden, with 245 of its flights canceled.

Related Link: A Basket Of Airline Stocks Expected To Beat The Rest

Déjà Vu

This is not the first time this summer that a computer error has caused a significant problem for travelers. United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE: UAL) grounded hundreds of its planes in July after a computer glitch locked the company out of its reservation records and prevented airline staff from checking passengers in.

Automation Concerns

The two incidents so far this summer have raised questions about the reliability of automated systems in aviation. The industry has become reliant on technology in order to operate, and one small glitch can have a ripple effect across the entire country. Many worry that this could be a potential target for cyber attackers looking to disrupt U.S. infrastructure. Others say that a backup system needs to be in place in the event of a failure like these ones.

Image Credit: Public Domain

 

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