American stops flights at 3 airports, problems soon resolved

American stops flights at 3 airports, problems shortly resolved

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines flights to & from Dallas, Chicago & Miami were briefly stopped on Thursday by a computer problem that prevented passengers from checking in.

Airline officials said they fixed their computer systems after less than two hours yet were still trying to determine the exact cause of the interruption.

American spokesman Casey Norton said there was no indication that the airline’s computers had been hacked.

The midday failure affected flights on American & its regional affiliate, American Eagle. The Federal Aviation Administration said that American Airlines planes destined for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, O’Hare Airport in Chicago & Miami International Airport were held on the ground at other airports.

Norton said six American Eagle flights in Chicago were canceled & approximately 300 American & Eagle flights were delayed by an average of slightly more than one hour. Tracking service FlightAware.com reported nearly 600 delays on American & more than 200 on Eagle operator Envoy Air by late afternoon, yet Norton said many were unrelated to the computer issue.

The glitch prevented passengers at the three huge hub airports from checking in for flights, & customers may have been unable to make reservations.

The incident occurred at an awkward time for American Airlines Group Inc., the world’s biggest airline. In a month, the company plans to complete combining the reservations systems of American & its US Airways subsidiary & retire the US Airways brand.

Combining technology systems is a difficult feat that has tripped up other airlines, notably leading to several outages at United Airlines since it merged with Continental Airlines in 2010. United suffered two outages this summer, including one in July that the airline blamed on a faulty router.

American has made meticulous plans to avoid a similar fate. Among other moves, it is gradually switching US Airways flights to American over a 90-day period, & it will reduce flights to lighten the load on its network when it finishes merging the two reservations systems in mid-October. American officials said that Thursday’s issues were unrelated to those measures.

In April, more than 50 American flights were delayed by a glitch in airport-map software loaded on pilots’ iPads.

Shares of American Airlines Group rose 93 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $43.99. They have lost 18 percent this year.

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David Koenig can be reached at https://twitter.com/airlinewriter

Source: “Associated Press”