Check out this incredible story I was reading over the Thanksgiving break. It comes from an Indonesian news source and is about the Indonesian airline Garuda.

A switch-over and data migration of the airlines’ Operational Control System (IOCS) that schedules aircraft utilization, crew assignments and passenger departures crashed on Sunday, November 21, 2010, leaving passengers waiting at airports across the nation staring at parked aircraft lacking the required flight and cabin crew. In the course of the data migration important data was lost, blamed by the airline’s information technology staff on a loose computer cable.

A loose computer cable sounds like a very difficult to believe excuse to me, but stranger things have happenend.

I’m not sure of the IT provider in the case above, but it was less than a week ago when Spirit had problems with their res system and the website could not take bookings. At the bottom of that Tnooz article there was an interesting comment from Colt Cooper.

I customize Navitaire’s New Skies for a number of airlines and it’s disturbing that rez system outages have hit some of Navitaire’s biggest clients like Ryanair, Virgin Blue and Spirit all in the span of a few months. Accenture-owned Navitaire has been running damage control since the Virgin Blue incident and I fear this can’t help their cause.

I was in a meeting with an airline customer recently where I emphasised the importance of execution and a proven track record with successful migrations when choosing a vendor, but sometimes it takes a major problem like that at Garuda to really bring home the importance of this point.