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Lufthansa IT meltdown strands thousands of passengers worldwide


(Reuters) — An IT failure at Lufthansa stranded passengers and forced flights to Germany’s busiest airport to be canceled or diverted Wednesday, with the airline blaming botched railway engineering works that damaged broadband cables.

More than 200 flights have been canceled so far in Frankfurt, a vital international transit hub and one of Europe's biggest airports, a spokesperson for operator Fraport said.

Lufthansa and Germany's national train operator blamed the problem on third-party engineering works on a railway line extension that took place Tuesday evening, when a drill cut through a Deutsche Telekom fiber-optic cable bundle.

That caused passenger check-in and boarding systems at Lufthansa to seize up Wednesday morning and prompted German air traffic control to suspend incoming flights, though these have since resumed.

Photos and videos from several German airports showed thousands of passengers waiting to be checked in.

Passengers said on social media the company was using pen and paper to organize flight boardings and that it was unable to digitally process passengers' luggage.

In a tweet, Lufthansa said: “As of this morning the airlines of the Lufthansa Group are affected by an IT outage, caused by construction work in the Frankfurt region.”

Deutsche Telekom said in a statement: “Two cables have already been repaired overnight by our technical team, and many customers are already back online,” adding the situation was improving continuously.