Navitaire outage to cost Virgin $15-20m


Virgin Blue today claimed the disastrous outage which hit its IT systems several weeks ago was estimated to cost the airline between $15 million and $20 million.

The outage — which Virgin Blue sourced to a hardware failure at its outsourced IT systems provider Navitaire — took down the airline’s reservations, check-in and related systems on Sunday 26 October, resulting in a string of delayed and cancelled flights and a nationwide outrage.

Virgin Blue was forced to apologise to customers at the time and provide overnight accommodation and replacement flights to passengers stranded around the nation.

“An initial assessment of this interruption shows an estimated pre-tax impact of $15-20 million,” the airline said in a statement today. “Virgin Blue will be actively pursuing all avenues to recover this cost.”

Virgin Blue mentioned Accenture subsidiary Navitaire and its New Skies system explicitly in the release. It said its systems were restored to its normal production environment on 6 October — but that the outage had resulted in a “severe interruption” to its business for 11 days.

“Prior to the outage, the Group had seen an improvement in general trading conditions when compared to the corresponding period last year,” the airline said.

The news comes as Virgin Blue yesterday announced the appointment of a new group executive of operations. Sean Donohue comes to the airline after 24 years with United Airlines in the US. Donohue will oversea Virgin’s operations division — including flight operations and engineering, ground operations, safety, operations planning and so on.

“He will be responsible for leading our operational division to ensure it complements the Group’s overall growth strategy,” said Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti. “Sean will head a Division with more than 3500 reports across diverse areas such as line operations across four different fleets; all mainline and regional airports; and security,” the chief executive said.

Image credit: Andy Mitchell, Creative Commons