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Southwest flights delayed, canceled after computer glitch

A Southwest airlines arrives to land at the San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Southwest airlines arrives to land at the San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co canceled or delayed about 250 flights overnight and early on Saturday due to a system-wide outage of computers used to dispatch aircraft, said a spokeswoman for the airline.

The Dallas-based airline said 43 overnight flights were canceled as a result of the outage, which began around 11 p.m. EDT on Friday (0300 GMT on Saturday) and lasted until about 3 a.m. on Saturday (0700 GMT), said Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Michelle Agnew.

Another 14 morning flights were canceled due to "flight crew availability and aircraft positioning" after the outage ended, she said.

Most of the cancellations affected routes in the western United States, Agnew said. Flights that were already airborne were not affected by the outage, while planes on the ground were held back, she said, adding that the cause of the computer failure was unknown.

Southwest, which operates some 3,400 flights daily, said in a statement on its website that its "systems are working at full capacity."

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Scott Malone and Paul Simao)

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