Delta Halts U.S. Flights as Another Computer Failure Strikes

Delta Air Lines Inc. halted U.S. flights because of a technology failure, the second major domestic U.S. airline to ground services due to computer glitches in only a week.

Delta’s international flights are exempt from the grounding, which was caused by “automation issues,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on its website. 

"Our systems are down," Delta said in a tweet. "The IT department is working to rectify the situation as soon as possible," said Atlanta-based Delta, the second-largest U.S. airline.

United Continental Holdings Inc. last week had to ground its U.S. flights following a computer failure. While that outage resulted in relatively few cancellations, it lasted about two and a half hours.

The latest problem at Delta struck just as airlines struggled to comply with new travel restrictions following President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Parts of the order were temporarily blocked by judges.

Last year, a rash of computer failures disrupted flight operations at U.S. airlines. Thousands of passengers were stranded as carriers struggled to keep older information systems working. 

Delta took a $100 million hit to sales after a power-control module at the company’s Atlanta command center caught fire in August, cutting power to computers. Southwest Airlines Co. had to halt flights the month before that because of issues with “multiple technology systems.”

Ground stops, as the FAA calls them, are relatively common reactions to thunderstorms and other disruptions in the U.S. aviation system. They are typically short-lived and narrowly drawn, such as halting departures to a congested airport for an hour or two.