Southwest Airlines announced late Tuesday morning the flights were back in operation after a short pause due to a technical problem.
In a press release, the airline stated that an unexpected loss of connection to certain operational data occurred when a firewall provided by a vendor failed early on Tuesday morning. The airline stated that it worked quickly to minimize the disruptions, and thanked its employees and customers for their patience.
FlightAware, a firm that provides aviation data, reports that Southwest Airlines did not cancel many flights immediately, but 1,700 flights were delayed. This represents more than 40% of the airline's schedule for the day. As the disruption spreads through the airline's entire network, there is a high probability of further delays. The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily stopped Southwest flight takeoffs at the airline's request.
This disruption occurs just a few short months after an incident around Christmas that cost Southwest over $1 billion. It also frustrated millions of passengers and brought federal legislators and regulators under intense scrutiny.
The airline has taken measures to avoid another disruption. These include monitoring the network for early signs, updating software to schedule crews, and training employees to assist with operations.
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