US carrier Southwest Airlines has blamed a power outage for severe delays to more than 1,000 services on 29 May. 

The airline said its Dallas, TX, data centre suffered a short power outage, meaning computer systems had to be restarted. 

The cause of the power failure was not specified, but the Dallas region and surrounding areas have been subject to severe weather in recent days which could have been a contributing factor. 

According to flight tracking service Flight Aware, 36% of Southwest flights were delayed on Wednesday, equating to 1,478 services. However, only ten of the carrier’s flights were cancelled. 

“While we were able to continue overall operations, some flights across the system were delayed while our teams addressed the outage and restarted systems. We apologise to our customers and appreciate their patience as we work to get them to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible,” Southwest said in a statement. 

Although the effects of this latest IT issue were relatively minor, it has thrust Southwest’s tech troubles back into the spotlight. 

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Two years ago the Dallas headquartered airline was castigated for system failures that caused at least 12,000 flight cancellations the week after Christmas 2022. Although severe weather systems were blamed for widespread aviation disruption, it was noted that Southwest took far longer than other carriers to overcome the issues. 

While CEO Bob Jordan said the event provided impetus to upgrade its systems, associated unions complained at the time “years of neglect” was to blame. 

Although the technical failures of 2022 were not specifically punished, the airline was forced to pay $140m in Department of Transport fines for the lacklustre care given to stranded passengers. 

“Taking care of passengers is not just the right thing to do — it’s required, and this penalty should put all airlines on notice to take every step possible to ensure that a meltdown like this never happens again,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. 

The fines were in addition to $600m the airline paid in compensation to stranded passengers.