Dozens of Sun Country flights were delayed for hours on Thursday due to what the Minnesota-based carrier called a third-party software outage, leaving hundreds of travelers stuck at the airport on what's expected to be the busiest travel day of the year.
Flight records showed that not a single Sun Country flight had departed by of 8 a.m. Thursday, including flights originally scheduled to depart at 6 a.m. Images from the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) showed flyers crowding at gates in Terminal 2 waiting to board or get more information on their flights.
Hours into the outage, a few flights had begun to board and take off but Sun Country warned to expect delays as it worked to manually get planes in the air.
“Our Operations team is executing our approved manual process and working closely with the FAA to clear flights for takeoff. However, this manual process is causing delays throughout our system. We appreciate the patience of our guests as we work to get them safely on their way as quickly as possible,” Sun Country wrote on its website.
Sun Country was the only major U.S. airline experiencing delays on Thursday – and that's because of the vendor at fault. The Minnesota budget airline faulted a third-party vendor named AIMS International, which provides software to mostly smaller foreign airlines, including budget carriers from Europe and Asia.
It's just the recent issue that has plagued airlines big and small during an unprecedented travel surge. Labor shortages and bad weather have forced American Airlines and Southwest alike to cancel hundreds of flights in recent weeks.
With travelers heading out on trips for July Fourth, Thursday was expected to be the busiest day in air travel since the start of the pandemic.
This is a developing news story, check back for more updates.