LAHORE - PIA’s information technology system yesterday remained shut on account of non-functioning backup for seven hours, causing the loss of millions of rupees to the airline.

Spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, however, believed there was some problem in the head office of SABRE, an American IT company owned by the United Airline of the US.

An aviation expert claimed that had it been a fault in the head office of SABRE, the IT system of United Airline would have also been shut down as the airline was also using this system. He added no disruption in the United Air operation was reported in the international media.

The failure of the system disrupted the schedule of various flights of PIA and prevented further bookings. It was a serious malfunctioning of the system, said a PIA senior officer seeking anonymity.

Following the IT malfunction, PIA’s operations came to a standstill at 9am, which was restored after 3:30pm with the delay of about seven hours.

It is worth mentioning here that more than 60 percent of British Airways flights from Heathrow Airport were cancelled after the airline was hit by a worldwide computer system power failure on Saturday last. The error caused inconvenience to thousands of passengers.

But in Pakistan some information technology experts revealed it was a SABRE attack and could be checked had the PIA IT department been handled by qualified and experienced IT officers. About the experience of the current IT Director Azhar Nawaz, sources in the airline said he had no aviation experience, adding earlier he was working with Nadra.

In the past, former PIA Chairman Ch Ahmad Saeed had appointed one Zulfiqar, backed by MQM, who did not know even ABC of IT. Zulfiqar also served as PSO to the then chairman.

An aviation expert said every airline had its backup system functional. “In case its regular IT system is hacked, backup system becomes functional for the smooth operation,

Backup system is never installed in the room, premises or city in which IT system is installed; rather it is installed in another city. PIA has installed its backup system in Islamabad, but it was not made functional due to which the airline had to face disruption in the flight operation.

Spokesman for the national flag carrier, Masud Tajwar, said no flight operation was affected due to the failure of IT system on Monday. He claimed only two local flights operating between Karachi-Turbat and Karachi-Islamabad were cancelled due to under-load and not due to IT system failure. These flights passengers were accommodated in next flights by the airline management, he added.

SABRE attack and could be checked had the PIA IT department been handled by qualified and experienced IT officers. About the experience of the current IT Director Azhar Nawaz, sources in the airline said he had no aviation experience, adding earlier he was working with Nadra.

In the past, former PIA Chairman Ch Ahmad Saeed had appointed one Zulfiqar, backed by MQM, who did not know even ABC of IT. Zulfiqar also served as PSO to the then chairman.

An aviation expert said every airline had its backup system functional. “In case its regular IT system is hacked, backup system becomes functional for the smooth operation,

Backup system is never installed in the room, premises or city in which IT system is installed; rather it is installed in another city. PIA has installed its backup system in Islamabad, but it was not made functional due to which the airline had to face disruption in the flight operation.

Spokesman for the national flag carrier, Masud Tajwar, said no flight operation was affected due to the failure of IT system on Monday. He claimed only two local flights operating between Karachi-Turbat and Karachi-Islamabad were cancelled due to under-load and not due to IT system failure. These flights passengers were accommodated in next flights by the airline management, he adde.