Toronto Pearson Airport

Air Canada grounded

By —— Bio and Archives--November 16, 2007

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Update: 10:30 A.M. EST 

“It’s recovered now. It’s really just a communications error between our reservation system and the airport locale.

While the problem with the system has been fixed, it caused flight delays of between 30 and 60 minutes, Segaert added. The airline predicted operations would be back to normal by Friday afternoon.Canadians awoke this morning to the news that Air Canada flights at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport were, in effect grounded.



News reports indicate that a computer “glitch” was causing delays and affecting the airline’s international flights.

Air Canada has been without wings since 4:30 EST at the time of this writing.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) said Air Canada had been unable to check in passengers since 4:30 a.m., Toronto time, and had no timetable for when the computer problem might be repaired.

  Most other airlines are not affected by the glitch.

  Travellers scheduled to leave Pearson on an Air Canada flight were being urged to call ahead to confirm departure times.

  Just days before a planned cyber-attack by al Qaeda supporters against Internet sites had its intended targets in the U.S. on guard.

  “Robert Spencer, whose Web site Jihad Watch is a lightning rod for criticism from Islamist groups, said he is consulting with his technical advisers to ensure his page is inoculated from intrusion,” (The Washington Times, Nov. 11/2007).  “Jihadists and their allies cannot compete in the arena of open debate, and so they resort to thuggish tactics to silence their opponents,” Spencer said.

  The latest plans for al Qaeda internet sabotage were uncovered by several of their intended websites back in October, with one of the sites launching a counterattack.

  “Sheikh Osama (bin Laden) may Allah protect him said: `90% of the battle is through the media and the remaining is through weapons,’” according to a translated posting on the Jawa Report ( HYPERLINK “http://mypetjawa.lmu.nu” http://mypetjawa.lmu.nu), whose host blogger goes by the handle of “Dr. Rusty Shackleford.”

  “From this blessed forum I call on to the formation of `Jihadi Battalions to Attack the Internet’ for the triumph of truth in the age of darkness so contribute with us in establishing these blessed Battalions,” the announcement said.

  A Homeland Security Department spokeswoman dismissed the threat as rumor and said the agency did not issue any warnings in advance.

  “Aaron Weisburd, who operates Internet Haganah and has shut down more than 1,000 jihad and al Qaeda sites, predicts the attack to be “unsophisticated and will have minimal impact”.”

  Only yesterday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) warned that online Islamist extremists pose am increasing threat to public safety, as evidence grows that they are beefing up their Internet presence to find and nurture new members and wage hacking wars against opponents.  The CBC warning was based on a U.S.-based intelligence analyst.

  “For example, a message posted recently on the year-old Al Fajr Media Center website, linked to the al-Qaeda extremist network, calls for volunteers to form “hacking battalions”—groups of internet-savvy sympathizers whose mission will be to mount spam e-mail attacks that will disable moderate Muslim websites.

  “Four months ago, the same website disseminated a sophisticated encryption program designed to prevent Western intelligence agencies from spying on them.

  “As a result of that posting, security analyst Ned Moran said, Islamist extremists from all over the world are meeting in password-protected chat rooms to plan attacks.

  “They are using the internet to organize real-world operations, whether it’s a bombing, a kidnapping or a major attack,” said Moran, a senior intelligence analyst with the independent Washington-based Terrorism Research center.

  “We never know where the next hit will emerge.”

  Are today’s grounded Air Canada flights destined to tally millions of dollars in losses to Canada’s premier airline coming from just a hiccup in Air Canada’s computer system?


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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

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