(Bloomberg) -- The failure of Delta Air Lines Inc.’s worldwide computer network this week spotlights the vulnerability of the information systems sustaining the biggest U.S. carriers, each of which has contended with major disruptions during the last year.

Complex networks cobbled together over the decades need major overhauls requiring significant new investments, said Bob Edwards, a former chief information officer for United Continental Holdings Inc. Recent flaws in computer systems quickly escalated into corporate black eyes that exacted costs in both money and reputation.

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