Software error caused loadsheet problems for an EasyJet flight

It was recently reported that an EasyJet flight to Edinburgh in January 2021 had loadsheet problems due to software code errors.

Indeed, the flight took off with passengers and baggage that were intended for a different type of airliner, which is a very serious safety measure. This was caused by the IT network that became congested and led the computer systems to act in a way that hadn’t been designed or predicted. As the many elements of the IT system architecture don’t interact with each other but only operate through different interfaces, it makes the system more prone to errors and inaccuracies.

The loadsheet discrepancy was first spotted by an EasyJet cabin manager that noticed that passengers weren’t sitting where they should be, meaning that the baggage understand were also at the wrong places. This could lead the airliner to become unbalanced, or even difficult to control for the pilots.

Further investigations revealed that EasyJet’s departure control software (DCS) had given a loadsheet for an A320 and not an A321neo. This meant that the weight-and-balance calculations were wrong for that flight. The discrepancy in information was then due to code errors in the Batch Interaction Layer operating outside of the original design specification.

The software error is explained by the last-minute aircraft exchange and the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a high number of changes to the airline’s schedule that day. Hence, the system became slower than usual and it was unable to automatically detect the changes.

EasyJet declared that it would work to ensure the safety of its crew and passengers and take the necessary steps to strengthen its procedures to prevent something like this from happening again.

 

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