Delta software outage delays boarding for two dozen flights

(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc DAL.N delayed boarding for about two dozen flights on Tuesday as a result of a brief outage in its software that powers ground operations, a spokesman said.

The Atlanta-based airline does not expect further delays due to the issue, and no flights already in the air were affected, spokesman Michael Thomas said in a statement. He would not immediately comment as to whether a cyber attack caused the outage.

The delays prompted concern from travelers on social media, including journalists who were in Iowa to cover the caucuses there ahead of the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman), chief political correspondent for ABC7NEWS in Washington, said in a tweet, “System wide computer crash for @Delta air—can’t fly yet. Looking into some property here in #Iowa #delta.”

The technical issue follows several high-profile computer problems experienced by U.S. airlines in 2015, including a router error at United Continental Holdings Inc UAL.N and a malfunctioning iPad application used by pilots at American Airlines Group Inc AAL.O that caused delays.

Industry consultants say computer disruptions will have a growing impact on airlines, and their passengers, as they automate more operations, outfit their planes with Wi-Fi and distribute boarding passes on smartphones.

Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin, Amy Tennery, Gina Cherelus and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Chris Reese