Sunwing has apologized to pax stranded by its network outage and has revealed the issue that’s been affecting its flights for days was caused by a cyber-attack on one of the operator’s service providers in the U.S.
Mark Williams, Sunwing’s CEO, told CP24 that the third party had “been breached.”
As reported in Open Jaw Tuesday 19APR, Sunwing is the only Canadian airline affected by the provider’s system breach.
“A system that is up and running all the time, which never fails, was hacked,” Williams added. “They had a cyber-breach and they’ve been unable to get the system up.”
Until both American and Canadian authorities can verify the provider’s systems are now secure, they can’t be reactivated.
Williams did not say whether any passenger personal information had been jeopardized in the attack. And he was unable to provide a timeline for Sunwing to be operating again normally.
That leaves the operator working “around the clock” to operate manually - including writing boarding passes for passengers by hand.
A statement issued by Sunwing says, “while we continue to process flights manually, additional flight delays can be expected and customers are advised to sign up for flight alerts on Sunwing.ca.”
The incident has impacted all of the carrier’s flights to and from Canada, affecting thousands of pax departing from Canadian airports and also those trying to return to Canada from Sunwing destinations. Reports say pax have been stranded at airports in the Caribbean for days.
The operator is reportedly providing hotel and / or transportation vouchers to return pax home from Canadian gateways or stay overnight until they are able to fly them.
Williams confirmed that Sunwing is anticipating providing “significant cash compensation” to some pax, and is also allowing travellers to delay their vacations, with penalty-free rebooking available to booked pax until 23JUN.