Southwest Airlines has resumed flights after grounding all planes in the US following a technology glitch.
In a statement at 11 am Eastern time, the budget carrier said it had “summed operations” after requesting a ground stop Tuesday morning “to work through data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure.”
“Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost. Southwest teams worked quickly to minimize flight disruptions,” the airline said in a statement.
In earlier tweets replying to frustrated travelers who said they were stranded on airport runways, Southwest said it “had to implement a ground stop as a result of intermittent issues that had experienced.”
More than 2,000 Southwest flights were delayed Tuesday, according to airline tracker FlightAware.
In December, the airline had a multi-day meltdown when it canceled nearly 17,000 flights in a 10-day stretch around Christmas — wrecking holiday travel plans for well over 2 million people. A winter storm had shut down Southwest’s operations in Denver and Chicago and the airline’s system for rescheduling pilots and flight attendants was overwhelmed.
Those cancellations cost the airline more than $1 billion and led to an ongoing Transportation Department investigation.
The airline’s unions have said they warned management about problems with the crew-scheduling system after a previous meltdown in October 2021.
Rob Britton, a former American Airlines executive who teaches crisis management at Georgetown University, told the Associated Press that Southwest has underinvested in technology while growing rapidly, and that the carrier suffers from an “insular culture” that “keeps them from looking outside for solutions .”
CEO Robert Jordan has embarked on a campaign to repair the airline’s damaged reputation. Southwest said last month it would add deicing equipment and increase staffing during winter weather that is cold enough to limit the amount of time that ground workers can stay outside.
CBS News’ Kathryn Krupnik and Kris Van Cleave contributed reporting. With reporting by the Associated Press.
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