Qantas Says Leap Second Won't Cause Reservation System Outage

30th Jun 2015

Qantas says it is confident the leap second will not cause any outage to its reservation systems. The leap second will be added to the world's clocks tomorrow at 10:00 AM AEST time.

Last Leap Second Caused Problems for Qantas' Reservation System

This is the first time in three years that the leap second is added. The last time was in 2012, also in June, and it has caused numerous problems with Qantas' Amadeus booking system, causing several delays.

A spokesman for Qantas said:

"We have sought and received assurances from Amadeus that they have taken action to make sure that the same problem does not happen again this year, and we're confident that it won't. We don't expect any impact on Qantas operations as a result of the leap second."

A leap second is added in order to sync the world's official time with the Earth's rotation.

Head of time and frequency team at the National Measurement Institute, Dr. Michael Wouters said:

"There's going to be a leap second where an extra second is introduced into the day to keep astronomical time in step with atomic time."

What Problems can a Leap Second Cause?

A leap second basically means one minute will be equal to 61 seconds, instead the normal 60. While a human mind may not feel too much of a difference, many computer programs cannot handle this added second. As a result they either start 'bugging out' or they stop working entirely.

John Leaney, of the Sydney University of Technology said:

"The second in a computer was always considered inviolate. The computer clock only went forward one second or a millisecond at a time and this was fundamental to the operation of the computer and the way its programmers thought about it. So that's why we got a problem."