Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus has been forced to cancel all of its European and UK flights on Saturday afternoon after a ‘major’ IT outage took down the airline’s check-in and boarding systems as well as its website.
Aer Lingus said the blame for the fault lay at the door of a network provider based in the United Kingdom which powers the airline’s IT systems via a cloud-based system.
The airline cancelled 51 flights from 2 pm on Saturday, most of which were short-haul European services. Thousands of passengers have been caught up in the disruption, and chaotic scenes quickly descended upon Dublin airport where Aer Lingus is based.
A spokesperson said all transatlantic would operate but would be hit by delays and in some cases with fewer passengers than booked as a result of “security restrictions”.
“Due to a major incident with a network provider, our cloud-based systems enabling check-in, boarding and our website are currently unavailable,” the airline said in a statement.
“A UK network provider servicing the cloud-based system has experienced a major break in connectivity impacting both primary and secondary connectivity,” the statement continued.
Aer Lingus is owned by the Madrid-based International Airlines Group (IAG) which also owns British Airways and its antiquated IT system. The problems affecting Aer Lingus on Saturday, however, are not believed to be linked to BA’s recent IT outages.
Connectivity was restored at around 7 pm on Saturday evening, but the airline said it would take some time to bring IT systems back online.
“We are endeavouring to operate some flights from Dublin Airport that were originally scheduled to depart pre 2.00 pm today. However, as we are relying on a manual process for these flights, there remains a risk of cancellation,” a spokesperson warned.
Unfortunately, the IT outage is so severe that Aer Lingus cannot communicate directly with affected passengers and the airline is instead asking customers not to travel to the airport until its systems have been restored.
“We are working intensively with our system partners and their network partners to resolve the connection issues as soon as possible,” the statement continued.