British Airways chaos continues into third day after IT system outage

Elizabeth Williams
May 30, 2017

The embattled airline said it was cancelling 13 short-haul flights from Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, but was aiming to operate a full long-haul schedule from the hub and was operating a full service from Gatwick Airport. But he says there will still be delays, as well as some canceled short-haul flights.

On Saturday, an IT system failure caused all its flights London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports to be canceled leaving thousands of passengers displaced, with many spending the night in the terminals.

The CEO of British Airways, Alex Cruz, told Sky News the IT outage that grounded flights and stranded passengers was due to a power surge that affected messaging across their systems.

Alex Cruz, BA chairman and CEO, apologised to customers in a video message on Twitter and said, "I know this has been a disgusting time for customers".

Some passengers, however, were flown out of Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on Saturday by KLM Airlines, while others were flown to Heathrow-London by Virgin Atlantic on Sunday morning.It was gathered that the British Airways passengers who were not flown out on either of the flights were provided with complimentary hotel bookings.

BA's operations were returning to normal on Monday and it said it would fly more than 95 percent of its normal flight schedule.

The disruption hit British Airways during one of the U.K.'s busiest travel weekends, with a public holiday on Monday, and the long Memorial Day break in the U.S.

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The airline blamed the computer blackout on a "power supply issue" and said there was no evidence of it resulting from a cyberattack. The first indication that all was not well had come at around 11am when customers trying to access the company's website to check in or view arrival times were greeted by a single word: "ERROR".

Both Gatwick and Heathrow advised passengers to check the status of their flights after terminals became congested with travellers hoping to get away for the long weekend and half-term school holiday. Furlong said the airline probably lost about £4 million in operating profit a day during the outage.

On Monday a Heathrow Airport spokeswoman said: 'Following a worldwide IT system issue, there continues to be some disruption to British Airways flights from Heathrow.

"In 2016 BA made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India".

However, no one from BA has been available to answer the many questions the media had over the crash of the BA system and the airline did not explain why a backup system had not been in place.

The airline is expected to face a bill of more than £100 million for transport, acommodation and meals provided to stranded passengers.

Delta experienced a similar incident in August previous year, when a computer failure delayed tens of thousands of passengers.

Other reports by VgToday

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