As many as 155 Air India flights will be delayed for an average duration of two hours till 8.30 pm due to the passenger service system (PSS) software shut down for six hours on Saturday, the state-run carrier said in a statement. Thousands of passengers across India and overseas stranded at several airports as the airline’s PSS software, which looks after check-in, baggage and reservation, stopped functioning. The software malfunctioned after a routine maintainance at 3.30 am. The software, which is run by SITA, was restored at around 8:45, due to which flight operations of Air India took a hit.
"155 flights, with an average duration of two hours, are expected to be delayed till 2030 hours," Air India spokesperson said. The airline’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani said he expects normalisation of operations by Saturday night.
Air India group, which also includes subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express, flies around 674 flights every day. SITA's senior manager Julius Baumann said, "SITA experienced a complex system issue during server maintenance today which resulted in operational disruption to Air India flights. We've now fully restored services at all airports where Air India were affected."
He further said that an investigation was being conducted to understand the root cause and prevent reccurence of any such incident. "We are undertaking a full investigation to understand the root cause and prevent a recurrence. We deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused to the airline and their customers owing to this disruption. Only Air India flights were affected by the glitch."
Earlier, thousands of people stranded at the airports across the world took to social media to express thier anguish over the delay. "@airindiain's birthday gift to me, spending the day in overcrowded delhi airport (all the crowd due to airindia's various flights) with no real updates on next steps. We understand server crashes can happen, but when it's over 4 hrs u really need to do something abt it (sic)," tweeted one of the passenger stranded at Delhi’s IGI airport.
Bollywood filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri also had to face the trouble due to the issue. He had to return home after waiting for couple of hours at the airport. "Air India server crashed since 3.30AM. All flights cancelled. Thousands of passengers stranded at the airport. Nobody knows what is happening. Don’t go to the airport without confirming. I am also going back after spending couple of hours," he tweeted.