Air India flights worldwide were affected on Saturday morning after the servers of the national carrier had crashed, reportedly, leading to a crisis-situation globally. However, Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, confirmed that the glitches were resolved and the carrier was back in operation.
According to news agency PTI, nearly thousands of people were stuck at different airports across the world since 3.30 am due to issues in the Air India's SITA servers. Passengers took to Twitter to complain of delay in flights and chaos at airports, including the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi.
The airline had confirmed a glitch in its check-in software. "SITA server is down. Due to which flight operation is affected. Our technical teams are on work and soon system may be recovered," PTI quoted an Air India spokesperson as saying.
However, later, CMD Lohani confirmed that the operations have resumed. According to an official of the national carrier, the airline was unable to issue boarding passes to passengers at airports across the world due to the technical glitch since 3:00 am.
The software solution of the carrier is managed by SITA, which is an Atlanta-based airlines IT services major. It provides check-in, baggage and boarding tracking technology. Lohani said that SITA is currently looking into what caused the shutdown. "They are checking if it was because of virus or for any other reason. They are still searching for the root cause," he said.
Meanwhile, SITA regretted the inconvenience caused and said it had experienced a complex system issue during server maintenance early morning due to which the disruption in flight operations occurred.
"We have now fully restored services at all airports where Air India were affected. Our priority remains, as always, to ensure a stable system where customers can conduct business efficiently and effectively, and we are undertaking a full investigation to understand the root cause and prevent a recurrence," SITA said in a statement to PTI.
A total of 85 flights were delayed till 10:00am, PTI quoted Lohani as saying. "Because of the 85 flights that have been delayed, a ripple effect will take place throughout the day," he said, adding that a "few flights will also be cancelled because of this delay".
However, later in the day, the carrier's spokesperson clarified that as many as 155 flights will be delayed for an average duration of 2 hours till 8.30 PM.
Mostly the domestic flights have been affected the most due to the software shutdown, Lohani clarified.
"International departures will not be facing much problems...There will be delay in one or two international flights. One Delhi-Shanghai flight is getting delayed by about 1.5 hours. The flights that are departing for Europe are largely running on time," he said.
"The passengers who will miss their flights will be given hotel accommodations or they will be rescheduled in a different flight of Air India or of an another airline", he added.
The Air India Group which includes its subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express, flies an average number of 674 flights daily.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)