Tech Glitch Grounds Indonesian Garuda Passengers
Jakarta. Hundreds of Garuda Indonesia passengers spent Sunday stranded at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport as glitches in the airline’s new operating system caused severe delays and canceled flights.
But the airline has yet to specify the exact cause of the delay or whether aircrews had failed to turn up for work because the computer malfunction had disrupted duty schedules.
Passengers became increasingly frustrated as the day wore on and the airline neither explained the reason for the delays and cancellations nor, apparently, followed through on its promise to reimburse ticket costs.
Garuda spokesman Pudjobroto said the delay was related to a glitch in the airline’s new master operating system, which combines flight monitoring, the cabin crew database and the crew schedules into one system.
“Previously, Garuda ran three separate systems. On Friday we launched our new system. Before the launch of the new system, the company had conducted trial runs. This glitch was not expected,” Pudjobroto said on Sunday.
“There was a problem during the database migration. Schedules of the cabin crew were not properly transferred.”
He said the system was designed to manage the operation of 81 aircraft making 2,000 flights each week, and the database and schedules of at least 580 pilots and 2,000 cabin crew members.
But he did not say how many employees scheduled to work on Sunday had experienced mistakes in their schedules, nor if the delays were the result of employees not showing up to work.
“Yes, there have been several delays. We have not counted how many as yet, but our team is looking to resolve this situation. A special team was dispatched to look into this. All should be normal by Monday,” he said.
The promise of a future resolution was not enough for passengers who, according to news portal Detik.com, crowded into Terminal 2F to register their disgust over flight cancellations and the airline’s handling of the situation.
A passenger named Iwan told Detik he had been waiting since 10 a.m. and his flight was delayed until 3:30 p.m., then finally canceled. “They gave us some food at noon. They didn’t give a clear reason why the flights were delayed,” he said.
Another passenger, Dwi Hartanto, said: “A Garuda Indonesia officer came to the waiting room with a megaphone and said that the flights today were canceled and that passengers could ask for a refund or complimentary accommodation. However, when we asked for a refund, they did not have enough cash.”
Calls to the airport itself were unanswered.
Detik reported that by 7:30 p.m. an announcement had been made that flights to Semarang, Pangkal Pinang, Batam, Padang, Medan and Aceh were finally canceled.