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  • Due to a cyber attack on the supplier’s system, the important systems of Canada’s established airline Sunwing Airlines were interrupted, resulting in serious flight delays for nearly a week;
  • The incident caused at least 188 flights to be delayed, and many passengers were stranded at the airport. Some passengers said they had been stranded at the airport for more than 3 days;
  • In order to reduce service interruption, Sunwing Airlines said that it will try its best to handle flight operations manually.

For nearly a week, Sunwing Airlines, a veteran Canadian airline, suffered severe flight delays due to a system failure caused by a cyber attack.

On April 17 (last Sunday), Sunwing Airlines suffered an internal system outage due to a cyber attack. The system outage affected check-in and boarding functions and caused flight delays and stranded passengers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport for five consecutive days, leaving many passengers stranded at the airport for multiple days.

On April 22 (last Friday), the company revealed that flight operations had returned to normal. But as of this writing, the system has not been fully restored, passengers may have “slower than usual” check-in times, and flights have experienced minor delays.

In a statement issued on April 21 (last Thursday), Sunwing said 188 flights had been delayed since the system was disrupted on the 17th.

As of the afternoon of the 21st, 153 flights have been or are being resumed, and normal operations are expected to resume over the weekend.

For passengers who have travel plans in the next few days, Sunwing Airlines recommends checking the flight status on the Sunwing.ca website in advance to confirm the latest information on the departure time.

“We are working hard to resume flight operations and would like to thank our customers for your patience during this period. At the same time, we would also like to thank other operators for their assistance in sub-leasing aircraft, as well as our staff (including airport ground handling, flight management, and flight crews) and other teams) and destination partners.”

“The source of this cybersecurity incident was a cyberattack on the company’s third-party systems provider, Airline Choice, which is working to resolve the issue,” the statement added.

In order to reduce service interruption, Sunwing Airlines said that it will try its best to handle flight operations manually.

Airline Choice has confirmed to the media that “some of the company’s computer systems” were down due to a data security incident, which has forced some systems to go offline.

“We have launched an immediate investigation to determine the nature and extent of the incident. We are working closely with third-party computer experts to investigate the source of the incident and confirm the impact on the company’s systems.”

Passengers demand compensation from Sunwing Airlines

Since April 17, dozens of flights have been changed from Pearson Airport to vacation destinations, and passengers who have experienced long delays have sought compensation from Sunwing.

One passenger said two days had passed since she planned to go on vacation with her family to Dominica due to unexpected delays.

“We’ve figured out a way to extend our leave a bit further. Luckily, we’ve been able to claim a few more days of unpaid leave, but we’ve also lost wages during that time.”

Some travelers also mentioned that they experienced flight delays of up to three days, equivalent to wasting half of a week’s vacation.

The president of Sunwing Airlines said the company will provide cash compensation to each passenger based on the specific length of the delay.

The media has learned that Sunwing Airlines has changed from a large airline to a small airline in January this year. This change may affect the actual amount of compensation for flight delays, depending on the time point when the passenger booked the travel ticket.

According to the “Canada Air Passenger Protection Regulations”, large airlines need to pay $1,000 for passengers delayed for more than 9 hours, and small airlines only need to pay $500 in the same situation.

A passenger rights advocate said the hacking was an incident within the airline’s remit, and Sunwing was therefore responsible for passenger losses.

In fact, if the airline can first spend money on data disaster recovery and protection, then it does not need to pay high compensation. If a company or organization has a data breach, it will have a great impact on its brand. Therefore, enterprises and organizations should do a good job of data protection and use backup software to protect their data. Now the commonly used backup are VMware backup, Hyper-V Backup, Xenserver Backup, oVirt Backup, and so on.