BUSINESS

Glitch in iPad app delays dozens of American Airlines flights

Flights delayed after glitch with app that lets airline pilots see navigational maps

More than 50 American Airlines flights across the country have been delayed as of Wednesday morning because of a glitch in an iPad app that allows pilots to view flight plans.

American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, said the problem was caused by an iPad app that provides navigational charts for pilots. Most major airlines are converting from stacks of paper maps -- included those pilots carry in a 35-pound kitbag -- to digital maps displayed on iPads or other tablets.

Because of the malfunctioning app, pilots could not view their navigational charts, forcing the carrier to delay 24 flights Tuesday and 30 flights Wednesday morning, American Airlines spokesman Casey Norton said.

"We've identifed the problem and the solution," he said.

The app was created by Jeppesen, an aviation navigation company based in Englewood, Colo.

A spokesman for Jeppesen said the problem was caused by a redundant navigation map for Ronald Reagan National Airport included in the app. To fix the problem, pilots had to uninstall the app and return to an airport gate to connect to the Internet to reinstall the app, spokesman Mike Pound said.

American switched to the iPad app for navigational maps in 2013.

Other airlines have also made the transition. Delta equipped 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets in 2013, and United began using iPads with Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck app in 2011.

Pound said Jeppesen makes navigational apps for many of the nation's largest airlines, but the latest problem was in an app that was developed specifically for American Airlines.

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