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Alaska Airlines faces FAA systemwide ground stop after software upgrade issue 

Alaska Airlines has resumed full service across its network following a computer glitch that caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an urgent ground stop order upon the carrier on April 17, 2024. Any of the carrier’s flights that were not airborne at the time of the order were unable to depart as a result. However, after around an hour and with the software malfunction resolved, flights were back in the air, albeit with rolling delays for the remainder of the day. 

At around 07:30 Pacific Standard Time (PST), the FAA ordered a ground stop for all flights operated by the carrier along with its regional subsidiary Horizon Air. According to reports, an issue had arisen with the airline’s system that it uses to calculate aircraft weight and balance – integral information required for the safe dispatch and operation of any flight. The ground stop did not apply to Alaska flights operated by regional carrier SkyWest, which operates its own independent software system. 

According to the carrier, the issue arose following a scheduled software upgrade that for reasons still being investigated by the airline, failed to integrate with existing systems. As a result, the entire system failed just as the company’s first wave of flights for the day were due to depart from various airports around the US and Canada.  

In a statement, the FAA said that Alaska Airlines had “asked the FAA to pause the airline’s mainline departures nationwide,” after becoming aware of the software issue. Meanwhile, in response to passenger complaints on social media platform X, the airline said it was working on getting people back in the air as soon as possible. 

Fortunately for both the airline itself and tens of thousands of its customers, the glitch was resolved after around an hour, following which the ground stop was lifted, and a full service was resumed. 

Robin Guess / Shutterstock

“We experienced an issue while performing an upgrade to the system that calculates our weight and balance,” said a company statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we requested a ground stop for all Alaska and Horizon flights, which was instituted at approximately 07:30 PST. 

“The issue was mitigated and the ground stop for Alaska and Horizon flights expired at 08:30 PST. We have begun releasing flights. Residual delays are expected throughout the day. We apologize for the inconvenience and encourage guests to check the status of their flights on [the company website] or the Alaska App before heading to the airport.” 

Although Alaska said that although there had been some rolling delays resulting from the ground stop throughout the remainder of the day, all passengers were ultimately flown to their destinations and that there would be no ongoing repercussions for its operations in the coming days.  

The post Alaska Airlines faces FAA systemwide ground stop after software upgrade issue  appeared first on AeroTime.

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