A glitch in iPads used by the American Airlines pilots forced the carrier to ground dozens of flights on Tuesday, April 28th. American Airlines said in a statement that the issue was caused by a software application on iPads. Andrea Huguely, director of corporate communications at American Airlines, said that more than a couple dozen flights of varying fleets were affected.

Apple Inc. iPad Software Glitch Grounds American Airlines Flights

American Airlines blames faulty third-party app

Huguely said that in some cases, “the flight had to return to the gate to access WiFi connection to fix the issue.” Business owner Bill Jacaruso was on board Flight 1654 from Dallas to Austin. After the flight was delayed for quite some time, the pilot came over and explained the situation, recalled Jacaruso. The pilot over the loudspeaker said that his copilot’s iPad went black, and exactly after 24 minutes, his too went black. Twitter was buzzing Tuesday night on the iPad issue.

However, American Airlines did not blame Apple for the iPad glitch. Instead, it targeted a faulty third-party app. American Airlines confirmed that the problem was caused by an error in the digital map used by pilots. Hundreds of passengers abandoned the American flights, and continued their travel some other way, reports USA Today.

American was the first carrier to use iPads in its cockpits

 

Flight plans are transmitted all the time on pilots’ iPads, which makes the device crucial to navigation. American Airlines became the first carrier to use Apple’s iPad in its cockpits in 2013 to cut down on huge volumes of paper that pilots would take on board with information on flight plans. Its pilots rely entirely on iPads for navigation, flight plans and other data.

American Airlines estimates that the 8,000 iPads replaced 24 million pages of documents. The paperless program saves the carrier at least 400,000 gallons of fuel a year. Apple is yet to comment on the issue.

American Airlines shares fell 3.22% to $49.53 at 10:53 AM EDT on Wednesday.