A hardware problem with the NewSkies computer reservations system of Virgin Blue on September 26 has caused chaos at airports around the nation as many flights were delayed and cancelled as the airline struggled to cope with having to manually process passengers.
According to a statement issued by Virgin Blue in the late afternoon on September 27, the outage was caused by the failure of a solid state disk server infrastructure. Initial attempts to fix the failure “proved less than fruitful and also contributed to the delay in initiating a cutover to a contingency hardware platform,” the airline said. However, as of 0500 on September 28 the system was once again operational.
The failure of the system and the inability to cut over to a backup computer system led to chaos at a number of airports as check in staff were forced to manually process passengers. That led to a number of flights suffering delays or cancellations, with the airline forced to accommodate some passengers and reimburse the expenses of many. Virgin Blue is also expected to take action against Navitaire, the provider of the NewSkies system, which it says failed to meet its service requirements.
As of the morning of September 28, Virgin Blue said that there were no further cancellations and that queues at airports had subsided.