Delta Air Lines Resume Operations After 150 Flights Canceled, More Expected

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A computer glitch in the systems of Delta Air Lines led to 150 domestic flights being canceled across the country along with numerous delays at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The company attributed the issue to an automation issue. More cancellations are expected in the days to come, with the company adding that not all delays and cancellations were being reflected in its systems, on the app, on airport information screens or through reservation agents.

According to Delta’s social media handle, flights began departing again as the glitch was resolved at around 11 P.M. However, over 25 flight delays and some entirely canceled flights left passengers in a limbo on Sunday.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian issued a statement expressing his apologies to all the stranded travelers who had been “impacted by this frustrating situation”.

“This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family who prides itself on reliability and customer service. I also want to thank our employees who are working tirelessly to accommodate our customers,” Bastian added.

“Some customers are experiencing delays upon landing, particularly at Delta’s hub airports,” the airport announced. “Delta apologizes to customers for the inconvenience”.

It is noteworthy that Atlanta is Delta’s largest hub.

Social media reports showed flight disruptions at airports in Atlanta, New York City, Houston, Tucson, Austin, and some other U.S. cities.

Although the service resumed about an hour prior to midnight, the MSP website showed that five flights were canceled as of 11:30 P.M., with three still delayed.

The travelers were left waiting for hours with little information about the situation of the outage. After enraged passengers took to social media to express their displeasure over the delay, a representative on Delta’s official Twitter handle told them that the systems were down and that the company’s IT department was working to rectify the glitch. A company news release at about 8:45 P.M. assured the passengers that it was “expeditiously working to fix a systems outage that has resulted in departure delays” without pointing out the time it would take to resolve the issue.

MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan stressed the dependence of airlines on their computer reservation systems.

Systems outages have become increasingly common much to the chagrin of passengers. United Airlines had to ground its domestic flights for about an hour owing to a computer outage exactly a week prior to this incident. Just like in this case, international flights had remained unaffected.

This isn’t the first time passengers have been left red-faced by Delta flight cancellations. According to Associated Press reports, Delta Air Lines was in the thick of things last year in August, with over 2,000 of its flights canceled over three days after an identical glitch in the computer systems at its operations center.

U.S. officials issued a statement last Sunday saying that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was having bandwidth issues.

With an eye on disaster mitigation, Delta issued a waiver for flights scheduled on January 29 and January 30, whereby passengers have to rebook their travel by February 3. The airline also added that unaccompanied minors will not be allowed to board through noon ET on Monday, January 30.

Exxon Mobil 4th Quarter Earnings Increase Despite One-Time Impairment Charge

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Exxon Mobil, the oil giant based in Irving, Texas, reported increased earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 despite the one-time impairment charge of $2 billion consequent to reduction of the value of some of the company’s assets in the US.

The impairment charge was a result of the company’s valuation of some of its US assets’ potential cash flow which was determined to be less than its carrying value. These assets were largely those in the Rockies.

Not including this non-recurring aberration, the company reported Q4 Q16 earnings $3.7 billion which translate to 90 cents per share as against Wall Street projections of 70 cents per share. For the same period last year, Exxon Mobil reported earnings of $2.8 billion which translated to 67 cents per share.

Weaker profit margins on the back of low oil prices added pressure to the earnings of Exxon Mobil’s refining business for the whole of 2016. Yet, a strictly implemented regimen of controlled costs through the year contributed to the earnings increase.

Darren Wood, CEO and Chairman of the US-based oil giant said, “Financial results for the year were negatively impacted by the prolonged downturn in commodity prices and the impairment charge.” Resultantly, the share price of the company fell by approximately 1% on the last day of January.

Analysts opined that the charges component is critical and the company has actually missed the profit projections if it were to be included.

The revenue number for the 4Q16 for the company was $61.01 billion which is lower than the projected figure of $62.28 billion.

While in 2016, the company’s capital spending decreased 38% to $19.3 billion, it is expected to increase the capital spending component in 2017 especially in the exploration segment.

As compared to last year’s 4Q earnings, this year’s earnings for Exxon Mobil fell in all its 3 major divisions including chemicals, exploration and production, and refining divisions.

The company had sent out warnings in the third quarter that it might have to revise the value of its unproduced resources if low prices persisted. The company, at that time, had said that the resources they hold may not qualify as proven assets at the current value under the rules and regulations of Securities and Exchange Commission.

The price rise of liquid petroleum products over last year has been offset by lower profit margins of the company’s refining business. Since the oil price downturn which started in 2014, refining profit margins increased backed by lowered crude oil prices. However, in 2016, crude prices stabilized at around $50 per barrel resulting in weaker profit margins for many integrated oil companies like Exxon Mobil.

The operations-generated cash flow, which is a critical measuring component in the oil and gas industry, for Exxon showed positive results over last year’s figures. Operations-based cash flow for 4Q16 was $7.4 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion over 4Q15. Asset sales-based cash flow also increased. The 4Q16 figure was $2.1 billion as against that of 4Q15’s $800 million.