Sun Country Airlines flights were temporarily grounded early Thursday when a key software program stopped working.
Sun Country uses the software to manage its crews, specifically to verify its pilots and flight attendants are legally cleared to fly. The software, from Dubai-based AIMS International, is used by airlines worldwide though few in the U.S.
By mid-morning, Twin Cities-based Sun Country — with the help of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — resumed operations by manually clearing flights for takeoff.
“However, this manual process is causing delays throughout our system. We appreciate the patience of our guests as we work to get them safely on their way as quickly as possible,” a Sun Country spokeswoman said in a statement.
The system was partially restored by early afternoon.
A phone number listed for AIMS’ North American office in Miami was disconnected this morning.
The software program manages all of Sun Country’s legally required checkoffs for flight, including federally-mandated rest requirements, duty limitations and other scheduling issues for flight crews.
An airport spokesman didn’t know if any other airlines at MSP use the same software.
Sun Country cancelled four of its 91 scheduled passengers flights for Thursday — a roundtrip from Dallas-Forth Worth to Cozumel and a roundtrip from Austin to Cancun.
“We are working with those passengers now to get them meal vouchers, hotel accommodations if needed and alternative travel,” a Sun Country spokesperson said.
The airline had an additional 48 cargo or charter flights planned for Thursday. All of these flights were affected by delay, but a Sun Country spokesperson didn’t know if any of them were cancelled.
Twitter users complained Thursday morning of large crowds congregated in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Terminal 2, where Sun Country operates.
Passengers with trips scheduled for today can make changes to their flights without a fee, Sun Country said. Customers can make changes on the airline’s website under its “My Trips” portal or can call customer service, though wait times are longer than normal.