Updated Monday, 24 May
A check-in and boarding system crash on Friday night led to more than 30 Virgin and Rex flights being cancelled and others facing up to three-hour delays nationwide.
The outage was identified at 4:30pm and fixed by 8pm, but led to long queues forming at Sydney Airport with the airlines switching to checking passengers in manually.
A Virgin Australia spokesman apologised to customers on Saturday morning and said the global outage was felt across its whole domestic network.
It marked the end of a week to forget for Virgin, after CEO Jayne Hrdlicka sparked a national debate when she suggested a vaccinated Australia should open its borders, even if it could potentially lead to some people dying.
She later said she accepted her comments were hurtful and would “choose different words” if she had her time again.
“We are a domestic airline that is committed to keeping the community safe,” she added.
She later said in a memo to staff that she meant opening the borders “Only when vulnerable members of our community have access to the vaccines they need” to ensure the hospital system is protected.
Virgin Australia’s system crashed about an hour ago. They can’t check anyone in. The airport is getting very busy. This sucks 🙃 pic.twitter.com/QUUR8A941v
— Tyler (@OldGoldenSnitch) May 21, 2021
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison branded the Virgin CEO “insensitive”, arguing he was “not going to take risks with Australians’ lives” and would maintain a regime “that has so far avoided the loss of 30,000 lives”.
PM Morrison said, “I would encourage people to know 910 Australians lost their lives. Every single one of those lives was a terrible tragedy, and it doesn’t matter how old they were.”
— J. (@RehdersCorner) May 21, 2021
Later on Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also appeared to also criticise Hrdlicka’s views by arguing that “no death is acceptable” when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID.
“We’ve worked hard in New South Wales to protect life, to keep community safety and that’s what we will do,” Premier Berejiklian said.
More to follow…