Local News

Fueling issues cause delays at RDU

Posted December 21, 2011

— A computer glitch that prevented fuel from reaching planes at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday morning delayed about three dozen flights, airport officials said.

At about 4:30 a.m., the computer system that monitors fuel at the airport falsely indicated that there was a fuel emergency. Despite the mistake by the computer, the entire system was shut down as a precautionary measure.

Officials said it took about two hours for the system to completely reboot, causing delays that lasted between 15 minutes and an hour for most travelers. They said they weren't sure how many travelers were impacted.  

The first flights, scheduled to take off around 6 a.m., were delayed until about 7 a.m., officials said.

Southwest Airlines, which flies out of Terminal 1, was the only airline not affected by the glitch since it doesn't use the same fuel farm as other airlines at RDU, officials said.

Airport officials said they weren't sure what caused the issue, but said departure times returned to normal by about 10 a.m.

"We are looking at a contingency plan throughout the day and the holidays to make sure we're ready in case it happens again," RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said. "Everything is working as it should be. We don't expect that (system) to do it again. This is the first time this has ever happened."


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  • vraptor Dec 21, 2011

    2 hrs to reboot??? How old is/are the system(s)? Sounds like jurasic park. The computers will reboot. Or maybe not.

    Can't they put a measuring stick in the fuel tanks to see how much is in them like the old days?? That is how we did it 40 years ago at our gas station.

  • epclark Dec 21, 2011

    I was a "glitch" in the technology that caused the issue. Completely unforseen, it has NEVER happened before. And for people to make remarks about something for which they have NO EARTHLY IDEA what happened shows their true character. Stick to what you know.

  • hunter38 Dec 21, 2011

    whats the big issue....things happen. I like airports .....people watching is fun.

  • Pepe Silvia Dec 21, 2011

    "Another good reason to fly Southwest. They were fueled up and on time this morning. Can't say that for the other carriers."

    It was a glitch in a system, that could have happened to another airline, or at another airport, at any time. Technology isn't foolproof. I like Southwest too, but don't act like they are some kind of magical untouchable airline that can do no wrong.

  • cwood3 Dec 21, 2011

    There was too much assuming going one earlier!!! Might be wise to wait for the facts to come out before running ones mouth!!

  • ObaMcCain Dec 21, 2011

    Just in time for the national news: "Gomer Pyle, once the simple-minded gas station attendant on Andy Griffith, now employed as aircraft fuel systems programmer at RDU, has delayed holiday travelers this morning." Nip it, nip it, nipt it in the bud!

  • Uhavenoclu Dec 21, 2011

    Should have gone to the roo,it's only $3.29 a gallon.

  • Parah Salin Dec 21, 2011

    Why on earth is this still the top story on WRAL.com? The Troops Homecoming, the Gas Tax Rise, heck the Wayne County Hepatitis story are much more significant than this.

  • smegma Dec 21, 2011

    Mo Blues, you must by a US Airways customer. RDU is a great airport. you can have BOS and LAX. they have great track records for you because you only fly once every 3 years

  • flyguync Dec 21, 2011

    For people not familiar with underground piping systems, the fuel system is required to have an automated leak detection indication which, when triggered, shuts the entire system down. It's a fail-safe type of thing so you're not pumping thousands of gallons of fuel into the ground in the case of a leak.