ANA still in the dark on reservation systems failure

All Nippon Airways systems failure caused the cancellation or delay of hundreds of flights

All Nippon Airways (ANA) still doesn't know the exact cause of a systems failure that hit its domestic operations on Sunday and caused the cancellation or delay of hundreds of flights.

"We have not yet been able to identify where in the connection system the trouble began," said Mineo Yamamoto, president and CEO of ANA, at a Tokyo news conference on Thursday. "Therefore since we are not able to identify the cause we cannot give you a promise [that it won't happen again] at this point in time."

On Sunday data flowing between ANA's host computer running its domestic reservations system and six intermediate machines began moving much slower than normal causing a data backlog that eventually clogged the system.

ANA was forced to cancel 130 flights and an additional 306 flights were delayed by more than an hour because passengers could not check-in for their flights. Around 69,300 people were affected.

In the afternoon the data began flowing again and the problem resolved itself allowing the airline to begin operating flights.

ANA also doesn't know what caused the system to begin working again and is working with system vendor Nihon Unisys on the problem.

The last time ANA experienced such a damaging failure in its domestic reservation system was on March 21, 2003, when the system went down for about two and a half hours early on a Friday morning of a three-day holiday weekend. That forced 150 flights to be cancelled.

"After those problems we thought we have been taking enough countermeasures to prevent another failure so it has been a great shame to see the same thing happen again on Sunday," said Yamamoto. "We will hurry to find out what happened."

Yamamoto, who was speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, began the news conference with an apology to all those affected by Sunday's problems.