Virgin Blue, the Australian discount airline, suffered a major collapse of its reservation and check-in system Sunday morning about 0800 AEST. The system did not come back up until some 21 hours later.

News reports state that the glitch affected Virgin Blue flights at airports across Australia along with some Virgin Pacific international flights.

According to this report in the Sydney Morning-Herald, some 116 flights were canceled, while this report by ABC News says that passengers may still be feeling the impacts well into Tuesday.

The Morning-Herald quotes Virgin Blue group executive Andrew David yesterday as saying:

"About 50,000 passengers and 400 flights were affected."

A story in Tuesday's early edition of The Australian now places the figure at 100,000 passengers being affected.

Mr. David also said, according to Sydney Morning-Herald, that the reservation and check-in system run by Navitaire had failed and there was no back-up method.

This story in IT News reports that there was a hardware problem at Navitaire, and the backup system which should have started within three hours, took 21 instead.

Tuesday's Australian story sheds a bit more light on the issue by stating that "the solid-state disk server infrastructure used to host Virgin Blue's applications failed."

Shades of the IT server problems last month in Virginia.

Navitaire, which is a subsidiary of Accenture, is likely to face a huge compensation bill in light of the failure, The Australian says.

Another Australian airline, JetStar, also uses Navitaire. It had two short reservation system interruptions on Sunday as well. The 68 other airlines that use Navitaire did not report any problems, however.

This is the second problem that Virgin Blue has had with its brand new reservation system in the last few months. You can read my June blog post about that incident here.

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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