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Wednesday 18 July 2018


US$150m Delta outage highlights need for BC

Written by staff reporter

US airline Delta has admitted that the total cost of its recent five-hour IT outage, which saw over 2,000 flights either cancelled or delayed over a three-day period in August, came to some US$150m. This figure shows how much of an impact even a small amount of IT downtime can have on an organisation.

“When it comes to air travel, arguably the biggest impact of downtime is the knock-on effect it has,” commented managing director of disaster recovery provider Databarracks, Peter Groucutt. “The cancellation of a single flight affects availability of aircraft and crew, and also causes a ripple effect amongst other scheduled departures. Issues can take days to resolve, as we saw with Delta.

“While Delta haven’t disclosed the breakdown of the US$150m cost, there are a number of items this would have included. Tangible costs are likely to include lost revenue, refunds paid to customers, the cost of extra staff to resolve the crisis and also fines and penalties from regulators. On top of this there are those intangible costs such as reputational damage and defected customers. When you consider that the outage was for only for five hours, it shows the impact IT downtime can have.”

Last week saw British Airways hit by an IT outage across its check-in systems, forcing staff to resort to manual processes for checking in passengers, including hand-written boarding passes

“It is critical that regular testing is carried out across your disaster recovery process in order to identify bottlenecks which can slow down recovery. During testing you should throw very specific scenarios at the plan and see how you would cope. This helps to identify any gaps you may have in your plan.”

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