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Another Technical Issue Delays Southwest Flights

Southwest Airlines is blaming an external vendor for the delay of over 53% of its scheduled flights on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Another technical issue hurt Southwest Airlines’ operations on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, forcing the Dallas-based carrier to delay over half their flights.

 

The airline is blaming an external vendor for the issue – the latest problem since their network meltdown at the end of 2022.

 

External Firewall Blamed for Southwest’s Temporary Ground Stop

The issue began in the morning, when Southwest says “a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost.” As a result, CNN reports the airline asked the Federal Aviation Administration for a temporary ground stop to work through the issue.

 

Although Southwest was able to rectify the issue by mid-morning, the damage had already been done to their schedule. According to FlightAware.com, 2,443 of their flights – representing 53% of their schedule for Tuesday – were delayed. Only 18 flights were ultimately cancelled.

 

As of Wednesday, April 19, 2023, their schedule has recovered from the incident, with only 443 reported delays and eight cancellations. The move to get back on track was not enough for some. Washington Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell, who moved to include Southwest’s December 2022 meltdown in Congressional hearings, slammed the airline, saying: “This is another demonstration that Southwest Airlines needs to upgrade their systems and stop the negative impacts to individual travelers.”

 

Southwest has not announced if they will compensate affected travelers for the delays.

 

Technology Issue Comes After Southwest Promised Key Upgrades

The third-party vendor meltdown happens at a very precarious time for Southwest. In a presentation at the 2023 J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference, the airline promised to upgrade their current technology package, which includes operational dashboard and crew optimization software.

 

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