On January 2nd, a nation-wide computer malfunction impeded US Customs and delayed flights, leaving many travellers stuck. The malfunction is claimed to be caused by a glitch in the system. Many international travellers were in the process of finishing their long journeys, only to be restrained to waiting in “lines.” Adding to the rough start, a pilot had passed out in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 in Canada. He was arrested under the accusation of being intoxicated. After many serious events occurring at airports, such as terrorist attacks and violence, 2017 has started off with a system outage and a pilot's inexcusable behaviour.

Customs' system outage

The computer system malfunction seemed to be a nation-wide outage.

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It affected major airports in Atlanta, Miami, among others. For hours, travellers were stranded in #Airport-limbo; although the system was fixed and returned to normal, travellers remained upset. According to CNN, flights were delayed between 30 minutes to two hours. During these delays and their wait in lines for customs, travellers grew restless. Videos were shared on Twitter of people fighting, as well as pictures of vomit on the airport floor. According to CNN’s Aviation Analyst, Mary Schiavo, there was an outage similar to this in October of 2015. Schiavo claimed that 2015’s outage had only lasted 90 minutes, and was caused by the addition of new equipment that was being brought online. Yesterday, airport security officials began checking passengers in manually, which proved to be quite difficult because everything is mostly done online.

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This manual process raises security issues and concerns for many; however, Schiavo stated that if officials do not rush the check-in process and do not overlook things they are trained to catch, there should be no cause for worry.

Intoxicated on-duty pilot

Sunwing Airlines was forced to switch pilots before their Boeing 737 took off for Cancun, Mexico. The original pilot, now identified as 37 year old, Capt. Miroslav Gronych, was found unconscious in the aircraft’s cockpit. According to Calgary police, his blood-alcohol level exceeded the legal limit by more than three times. Gronych, originally from Slovakia (working in Canada on a work visa) was escorted off the plane by police. Sgt. Paul Stacey of the Calgary Police Department stated that it is unknown when the pilot’s last drink was taken but it “probably wasn’t too long before [they] took him into custody.” Sunwing Airlines released a statement following the incident that read that the pilot was “unfit to fly.” The airline reportedly has a zero tolerance policy on consuming alcohol 12 hours before duty. The plane was carrying 99 passengers as well as six crew members. It is expected that Gronych will not be flying anytime soon.

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