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[liberationtech] Airline Shutdown Because of Loss of Internet Service?

Richard Brooks rrb at acm.org
Thu Jun 6 06:59:37 PDT 2013


On 06/06/2013 03:45 AM, michael gurstein wrote:
> This is probably not a Liberation issue directly but I'm not sure where else
> to address it...
> 

> Sunday I was flying (Porter Airlines--small short hop Canadian carrier) from
> NYC to Ottawa, ON with a plane change in Toronto. When we arrived in Toronto
> we were informed that "because the Internet was down" planes were not able
> to land or depart.  The company's service was completely shut down for
> roughly 4 hours until the "Internet service" was restored (presumably by
> their ISP).
> 
> I understand that other airlines have had similar experiences recently.  
> 
> My question... how exactly is Internet service so intertwined with flight
> operations that service can function only if the Internet is operational?
> (And I guess the Liberation angle... if this is now pervasive for all
> airlines what is the hackable element of all this and where are the points
> of vulnerability etc.etc.?
> 

This one is easy. Logistics. Airlines have enormous optimization
routines mapping planes, crews and passengers to flights. This
allows them to shave off overhead and make a profit. If the network
is down, they won't know who should fly where.

> M
> 
> 
> 
> --
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