Australian airline Virgin Blue's A$10 million New Skies reservation and ticketing system that just went live last weekend crashed today, causing flight delays across the country as the airline's agents had to check-in passengers manually. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the reservation system went down about 1525 and came back up about 1700, ABC News subsequently reported.
The airline also said that during the 28 hour cutover period, its agents had to process passenger check-ins manually, so at least Virgin Blue's agents were well practiced for today's outage.
In a Virgin Blue press release on Wednesday discussing the cutover, Chief Financial Officer Keith Neate was quoted as saying,
"The cutover to New Skies proceeded according to plan. We had a contingent of customer service agents in place at all major Australian-domestic airports and I'm really proud to say the cutover was very successful with minimal or no delays to our network or guests."
I suspect there are a few red faces at Virgin Blue's executive offices, but probably not nearly as many as when the new reservation and ticketing system at US Airways went into major meltdown mode in March 2007.
There was no reason given for why the New Skies system crashed.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.