Lufthansa: IT failure causes cancellations and delays for thousands of passengers

Lufthansa service staff talks to passengers after an IT fault.
Lufthansa service staff talks to passengers after an IT fault. Copyright REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Copyright REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
By Euronews Travel with Reuters
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An IT systems outage has prevented planes from taking off this morning leaving passengers stranded.


Thousands of air passengers are currently stranded across Europe. An IT fault at Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa has caused flight delays and disruption on all the airlines they own.

"There is a group-wide IT system failure," a Lufthansa spokesperson told Reuters news agency. Operations are not expected to stabilise until Wednesday evening. 

Photos and videos from several airports across Germany show chaos, with thousands of stranded passengers awaiting news. Passengers reported on social media that the company was having to organise the boarding of planes manually with pen and paper as it couldn't process luggage digitally. 

All domestic flights have been cancelled and international flights have also been affected by the outage. 

Lufthansa Group owns Lufthansa as well as six other airlines including Eurowings, Brussels Airlines, and Swiss and Edelweiss Air.

The airline said it is working intensively to solve the problem.

"Lufthansa asks affected passengers to check the status of their flight on the company’s app or website before arriving at the airport. Passengers with domestic flights can switch to Deutsche Bahn until Sunday," a statement on the airline's website says. 

Domestic passengers within Germany affected by the outage should book a train ticket and apply for a refund on Lufthansa's website.

Passengers wait at a Lufthansa check in counter after an IT fault at Germany's Lufthansa causes massive flight delays and disruptions in FrankfurtKAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS

What caused Lufthansa's IT systems failure?

Lufthansa has blamed the IT failure on construction work in the city of Frankfurt which damaged several of Deutsche Telekom's fibre optic cables.  

The IT system failure comes two days ahead of planned strikes at seven German airports which are expected to lead to major disruptions.

Scandinavian airline SAS said it was hit by a cyber attack on Tuesday evening and urged customers to refrain from using its app, but later said it had fixed the problem.

Unknown attackers cut cables belonging to Germany's public railway in December in what was seen as the second act of sabotage against Deutsche Bahn in as many months.

Airlines cancelled more than 1,300 flights and over 10,000 were delayed in the United States last month after the breakdown of a key government computer system.

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