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Booking Software Outage Affects 20 Airlines Including Fledgling Avelo
Orlando-based company Radixx announced that it experienced a malware attack, causing an outage of its booking software. The outage impacts low-cost airlines like Avelo Airlines, a startup airline in the U.S., scheduled to launch in the next week.
According to a press release, Radixx discovered unusual activity in its reservation system, Radixx Res, on April 20. This activity turned out to be malware, which caused an outage to identify and resolve all issues, with its highest priority being to solve the problems as quickly as possible. Currently, it is setting up Radixx Res in a new server environment, with efforts ongoing since April 22 and multiple airlines reporting a recovery of their reservation systems. According to a spokeswoman, the incident was reported to the FBI.
The company emphasizes that no customer info was compromised in the attack. Additionally, its parent company, Sabre Corporation, remains unaffected. Sabre Corporation is the largest bookings provider in North America, founded by American Airlines in 1960. Unlike its parent company, Radixx specializes in low-cost carriers and ultra-low-cost carriers, but is centered around the same products as Sabre.
Booking for Airlines Impacted
Radixx stated that approximately 20 airlines were affected by the outage. One of these airlines is startup Avelo Airlines, scheduled to launch its inaugural flights on April 28, from Burbank to Santa Rosa/Sonoma, Calif.
On its website, the low-cost carrier displayed the following message: “Customers and friends, we have been informed by Radixx, our reservation system provider, that they are beginning to restore their system functionality. Based on that information, we believe we will be able to accept reservations again soon. Please note this has not affected existing reservations and has no impact on our flight schedule. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and we hope you return to our website to make future bookings. We look forward to welcoming you on board one of our aircraft soon.”
However, later at 1:40 a.m. EST on April 25, Avelo announced that its booking systems had relaunched. The news was devastating for the airline and could mean thousands of dollars worth of lost revenue.
The Houston-based low-cost carrier plans to start its flights in Burbank, California, expanding to 11 destinations in the Western U.S.. Initially, the airline offered $19 fares and sold over $700,000 on its first day of ticket sales, according to FlightGlobal. Avelo Airlines will launch initially with three Boeing 737-800s with 189 seats, adding three aircraft by the end of 2021.
“I think a year from now, I think we will be profitable. I think we will have quite a few more than six airplanes, and I think that we will be really excited about expanding probably into a new base going into next summer, ” Avelo Airlines CEO Andrew Levy said recently in an interview with AirlineGeeks. “I’m incredibly bullish about the opportunity, I was bullish before the pandemic, and I’m extremely bullish now. I think we just have a wonderful opportunity. We have great people, plenty of capital, there’s great opportunity in the market, we’ve got a lot of experienced leaders, and I think we have all the ingredients to build a hugely successful business, and we’re very optimistic about the future for Avelo.”
At the time of writing, other carriers currently affected by the outage include Japanese low-cost carriers, ZipAir and Peach Aviation, Vietnamese low-cost carrier Vietravel Airlines, Belgian long-haul carrier Air Belgium and American carrier Eastern Airlines. It is unknown to what extent each airline involved in the incident was affected.
South African low-cost carrier FlySafair has recovered from the outage and resumed ticket sales. In a statement, Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair said, “The outage has been incredibly frustrating, inhibiting our ability to sell any new tickets or make any changes to existing reservations. Fortunately, the systems that manage airport administration are separate, so there has been no disruption to operations other than that customers are unable to check-in online and must do so at the airport.”
Radixx’s recent malware attack is not the only case of booking system issues within the last month. On April 5, Google’s ITA Matrix booking software had technical issues, causing Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines reservation systems to go offline temporarily. Separately, a cyberattack in February affected the data firm SITA and its booking system Horizon. This includes a data security issue affecting multiple carriers, including Singapore Airlines, which had frequent flier membership status and membership numbers compromised.
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