Thousands of Lufthansa passengers are left stranded Wednesday morning after an IT system failure caused delays across the company’s airlines—Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, and Air Dolomiti.
“During construction work in Frankfurt, fiber optic cables belonging to a telecom service provider were damaged, causing an outage of Lufthansa's IT systems at Frankfurt Airport. Flight operations are expected to stabilize in the early evening,” Lufthansa said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
Germany's air traffic control agency is diverting all flights away from Frankfurt, the country's busiest airport, due to the issue. Planes in the air are being diverted from Frankfurt and no other flights are being allowed to takeoff from the airport until the issue is resolved.
Lufthansa is rebooking flyers for free on Wednesday, and covering hotel accommodations, and also allowing those with domestic flights to switch to train line Deutsche Bahn until Sunday.
The issue, according to Lufthansa, is damaged glass fiber cable owned by T-Mobile's parent company, and German telecommunications giant, Deutsche Telekom in Frankfurt. The expectation is that it will take until Wednesday evening to repair the cables and there will be major disruptions to and from Frankfurt until then.
Frankfurt Airport is telling passengers to “please check the status of your flight before traveling to the airport and allow extra time for your journey. We also recommend that you check in as early as possible for your flight.”
According to FlightAware, as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the issue is impacting around 26% of Lufthansa’s Wednesday flights—10% are delayed and another 16% are already canceled. That includes 120-plus flights at Frankfurt International. It is currently not impacting a significant number of Austria Airlines flights, but that carrier has suspended all flights to Frankfurt.