German flag carrier Lufthansa suffered a major computer outage on Wednesday, the company announced, triggering a global wave of travel disruption as flights are delayed and canceled while the airline rushes to restore its systems.
Lufthansa said it had been hit by an “IT outage” that has caused flight delays and cancellations.
The company said the issue has affected the brand’s entire group of airlines, which, in addition to the namesake German carrier, includes Austrian, Belgian and Swiss flag carriers—Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss—and budget carrier Eurowings.
Lufthansa told Forbes the issue had been caused by damage to fiber-optic cables during construction work in Frankfurt and its operations should “stabilize” by Wednesday evening.
The scale of disruption caused by the fault is not yet clear but the issue has reportedly disrupted systems for check-in and boarding, stranding passengers, according to Deutsche Welle, and has also affected international flights, possibly causing many passengers to miss connecting flights.
German air traffic control is also re-routing all aircraft landing at Frankfurt airport—a major Lufthansa hub—to other locations due to the disruption, the outlet added.
Lufthansa did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
Lufthansa shares were down 1.62% on Wednesday after the outage.
Lufthansa is Europe’s biggest carrier and operates around 700 aircraft, according to Bloomberg. The company struggled with the downturn in local and international travel during the Covid-19 pandemic and was bailed out by the German government. Its fortunes have since changed dramatically and the company staged a massive turnaround last year. The carrier’s tech issues are the latest in a series to hit the industry in recent months. Thousands of U.S. flights were delayed or canceled in January following a system outage at the Federal Aviation Administration, a British Airways tech fault grounded more than 100 flights in February and Scandinavian airline SAS was hit by a cyberattack on Tuesday.
What We Don’t Know
Whether flights have been grounded. Bloomberg reported Lufthansa had grounded all of its flights. The airline has not used the term in its statements nor confirmed it to other outlets. “There are still flights in the air, they will not be brought to the ground,” a spokesperson for the company told Reuters.
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