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BA cancels all London flights after global IT outage

May 29, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

British airports were plunged into chaos at the weekend, with British Airways cancelling all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick as serious problems paralysed its computer and IT systems.

Thousands of passengers had their plans disrupted, the BBC reported. Delays were reported in Rome, Prague, Milan, Stockholm and Malaga due to the system failure. Passengers said BA staff in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 were resorting to using whiteboards to get messages across, as all else had failed.

BA was aiming to operate a near normal schedule of flights from Gatwick airport on Sunday (local time) and most flights from Heathrow.

The mass outage came just a week after a similar problem hit Australasia, with hundreds of international passengers milling around airports in Australia and New Zealand after the Advanced Passenger Processing system (APP) crashed. The APP system is used on both sides of the Tasman during check-in to confirm passengers are allowed to proceed to their destination.

In Britain at the weekend, passengers described “chaotic” scenes at the airports. BA apologised and told passengers not to come to the airports, after passengers criticised it on social media for lack of information.

BA chief executive Alex Cruz told the BBC: “We believe the root cause was a power supply issue.”

In a video statement released via Twitter, Cruz added: “I am really sorry we don’t have better news as yet, but I can assure you our teams are working as hard as they can to resolve these issues.”

He denied there was any evidence a cyber attack had caused the problems.

Earlier this year, in April, thousands of British Airways customers were left unable to check their bookings or check-in online after a major glitch knocked out the airline’s websites, ba.com and britishairways.com, for over eight hours.

During that outage, The Register, an online publication that caters to the IT community, pointed out a bitter irony: many people well-placed to quickly fix the problem were laid off from their jobs just months before, when BA cut hundreds of workers from its software division in a cost-saving exercise.

Written by Peter Needham

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