Canadian airlines suffer delays and cancellations due to Zayo outage

Air travel across Western Canada was impacted Thursday by an internet outage affecting the country’s air navigation service provider Nav Canada. 

Company spokesperson Brian Boudreau told The Record that there was a disruption in the network of Zayo, a telecommunications provider that Nav Canada uses in parts of the country's western region.

Zayo, which is based in Colorado, is a multibillion-dollar company offering communications infrastructure services, including fiber and bandwidth connectivity, colocation and cloud infrastructure.

“NAV Canada is actively engaging Zayo to ensure every effort is being made to restore the service as soon as possible and to understand restoration timelines,” Boudreau said. 

“As such, air traffic control will reduce the flow of departures and arrivals temporarily in some situations until Zayo has restored service. Procedures are in place to assure safety of aircraft in our airspace. We regret the inconvenience to air carriers and their passengers due to this third-party outage. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines for specific details regarding flight delays and cancellations.”

A spokesperson for Zayo told The Record that it is working to restore service "following the disruption of two key fiber lines managed by one of our underlying fiber providers in Canada, including an outage caused by a train derailment yesterday evening."

"We have rerouted a significant volume of traffic via other routes so that our customers can begin resuming normal operations," the spokesperson said. "We regret the inconvenience this has caused for our customers and air passengers, and our top priority is the safety of everyone involved.”

The Toronto Star confirmed that a train derailment Wednesday evening disrupted the two fiber lines.

WestJet, a Canadian airline operating in the region, explained in statements to The Record that it too was impacted by the Zayo outage. On Thursday morning, the airline said its check-in services, flight planning and payment services were affected. They asked customers to arrive early at the airport to get ahead of the outages. 

The company also said it was having issues with the self-serve baggage drop services at Calgary, Ottawa, Saskatoon and Halifax.

“We are working with all external parties to fully resolve and can confirm we are also impacted by the Zayo outage,” the company said, noting that its services were restored Thursday afternoon.  

“Across our network we have seen three cancellations and more than 100 flights have been delayed as a result of the outage. At this time, self-serve baggage drop continues to experience issues at Calgary (YYC). Guests traveling from YYC are encouraged to arrive early to have baggage processed by an agent.”

ChekNews reported that travelers at Victoria Airport saw cancellations from Air Canada and delays from Swoop and Alaska Airlines. Calgary International Airport, as well as Ottawa, Saskatoon and Halifax were also facing issues, according to CBC

The outage comes days after Canadians dealt with an alarming 19-hour outage that crippled parts of the country’s internet, phone, banking and emergency services. The outage was allegedly caused by a technical problem within the systems of Rogers, one of the country’s largest telecommunications companies. 

The Rogers outage also affected some of the country’s airlines, in addition to millions of customers' internet and phone services. National Bank analyst Adam Shine told Bloomberg the Rogers outage may end up costing Canada $142 million.

WestJet said Thursday's outage was not connected to the Rogers issue.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.