Power problem knocks out 140 Alaska Airlines flights

Business: Website also down temporarily

March 27, 2011 

Problems with the installation of a backup power supply for a critical computer at SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines tied the airline's schedule into knots for much of the day Saturday.

The airline said it canceled 140 flights by midday Saturday systemwide, including a total of 50 Alaska and Horizon Air flights originating at Sea-Tac Airport. Horizon Air is Alaska’s regional sister airline. It flies shorter flights throughout the West on Alaska’s behalf.

Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the airline worked with customers to book them on later Alaska or competitor flights. Some 11,700 passengers were affected by the cancellations.

Flight that weren’t canceled in many cases were as much are four hours late in reaching their destination.

“We’re working to get our operation back to normal as quickly as possible and are very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers,” Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden said. “We are doing all we can to book them on other flights.”

The airline said a transformer failed while its personnel were attempting to install a new backup power supply for the airline’s computer system about 3 a.m. Saturday.

That outage affected the airline’s flight schedule and planning computers as well as its website throughout much of Saturday. Information technology workers had worked out a temporary solution to the problem by early afternoon. They were to implement a long-term solution to the system failure early today.

The airline is offering to reschedule fliers affected by the system outage for free through Monday.

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