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Crucial air travel data centre evacuated for bomb threat

Mon 11 May 2015

It has been revealed over the last 24 hours that last Thursday a bomb threat [German language] caused a German data centre dealing primarily in air travel to be evacuated.

At 7am on Thursday 7th May the Amadeus data centre at Erding in the Aufhausen region of Bavaria received imminent warning of a bomb explosion in the complex. The news was kept out of the press by police in Upper Bavaria North at Ingolstadt until yesterday.

The threat is reported to have been received by means of a submission to an online form at the police headquarters in nearby Swabia. Shortly after the threat emerged the centre was evacuated and searched by four explosives dogs accompanied by over 30 officers and specialists from the state criminal police (Landeskriminalamtes). At around lunchtime the same day a controlled explosion is reported to have taken place of a device which turned out not to be explosive. The police have not currently ruled out an act of terrorism.

The evacuation of the Amadeus centre was reported to have been chaotic, with traffic jams forming from staff leaving the area in an uncoordinated manner.

The hour of detonation given to the police apparently passed without incident, and it has not yet been made clear whether the controlled explosion took place before or after it. Police are currently trying to identify the source of the anonymous tip-off.

The Amadeus data centre holds “almost all” European travel and hotel bookings, and an outage is said to risk bringing air traffic to a standstill. The centre accesses 95% of global scheduled network airline seats and undertakes over 1.6 billion data transactions a day. It has an average response time of 0.5 seconds and is arrayed with over 7500 servers.

The data centre caused undisclosed problems with airline customers when a technical failure during an upgrade caused a three-hour outage in January 0f 2012. During that incident the ALTEA system, which hosts about 100 airlines globally including British Airways and Qantas, was affected, with passengers unable to check in online, and with airport counter systems and reservations systems affected.


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