Lufthansa becomes the latest in a string of tech-based failures causing travel chaos

by | Feb 17, 2023 | Airlines, Digital Transformation, News, Travel Tech

Lufthansa becomes the latest in a string of tech-based failures causing travel chaos


Lufthansa has cancelled over 1,200 flights scheduled for today as airport workers execute planned strikes across seven German airports including Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg. This is the second, deeply disruptive incident the German airline has experienced this week.

On Wednesday, an IT failure for Lufthansa airline stranded thousands of passengers, cancelled over 200 flights, and delayed over one hundred more. The “group-wide IT system failure” caused travel chaos with passengers reporting the company was forced to resort to manually organising the boarding of planes as it could not process luggage digitally.

The cause of the IT failure was identified as damaged fibre optic cables which were mistakenly cut by engineering works on a railway line in Frankfurt.

This incident comes as the latest in a string of recent tech-based failures. In December, Southwest’s outdated optimisation technology contributed to their mass cancellations over the holiday season costing the airline a predicted $825 million.  Weeks later, a glitch in the FAA’s computer system caused thousands of flights across the US to be grounded disrupting approximately 10,000 flights.

Although the cause of Lufthansa’s recent tech failure differs slightly from these two cases in the US, the incident again highlights the disruptive results of tech-based failures. As airlines continue to develop their digital offerings, it is imperative they maintain updated, efficient, and reliable technology.

As mentioned in an exclusive interview with industry analyst Henry Harteveldt, the recent operational problems suffered in December have “sparked some rethinking and re-examination among some Asian carriers about their technology investments and prioritisations.”  Henry highlighted this as one of the key topics to listen out for at Aviation Festival Asia at the end of the month. Here, at the region’s most important aviation technology conference and exhibition, leaders of the world’s airlines, airports, and their most senior executives in charge of software and services will gather. To be a part of the conversation, get your ticket now.


Article by Jess Brownlow