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Faulty iPad app grounds dozens of American Airlines planes

An app used by American Airlines pilots on their iPad devices stopped working, forcing dozens of planes to the ground.

The iPad app, used by the planes' pilots and co-pilots for viewing flight plans, simply stopped working.

"We experienced technical issues with an application installed on some pilot iPads," said a spokesman.

"This issue was with the third-party application, not the iPad, and caused some departure delays last night and this morning.

The app in question is called FliteDeck, and it’s made by the Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen.

"The issue was caused by a duplicate chart for Reagan National Airport in American's chart database," said Mike Pound, a spokesman for Jeppesen.

"The app could not reconcile the duplicate, causing it to shut down. We were able to remedy the situation quickly, and instruct pilots to uninstall and reinstall the app.”

"Until the chart database is updated, AA pilots flying to or from National will use PDF [portable document format] images of the chart, outside of the app."

"Our pilots have been able to address the issue by downloading the application again at the gate prior to take-off and, as a back-up, are able to rely on paper charts they can obtain at the airport.

American Airlines went paperless back in 2013, and switched to the iPad to save its staff having to lug heavy paperwork on board. AA estimated the move would save it more than $1.2m (£793,600) in fuel every year, and the error force them to issue an apology.

"We apologise for the inconvenience to our customers."

Image Credit: Aero Icarus

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.