BA boss 'won't resign' over flight chaos

BRITISH Airways caused the "catastrophic" computer failure that left tens of thousands of passengers stranded at the weekend by cutting "hundreds of dedicated and loyal" IT staff and outsourcing the work to India, the GMB union has said.

"As our IT systems move closer to full operational capacity, we will again run a full schedule at Gatwick on Monday and intend to operate a full long-haul schedule and a high proportion of our short-haul programme at Heathrow".

So far on Monday, 13 short-haul flights at Heathrow have been cancelled.

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: 'Following a worldwide IT system issue, there continues to be some disruption to British Airways flights from Heathrow.

Initially the major IT failure was being speculated as that BA's IT systems had been hacked as recently WannaCry ransomware attack affected 150 countries.

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.

Services resumed on Sunday but cancellations and delays delays persisted with about 200 BA flights in and out of Heathrow cancelled on Sunday, according to Guardian calculations. Aer Lingus, part of International Airlines' Group along with BA, was able to take some passengers stranded by its sister carrier.

A one day outage costs the company about £30 million ($39 million) in lost revenue alone, said Stephen Furlong, analyst at Davy Research.

In a video posted on YouTube, Alex Cruz, chief executive of BA, said that all the IT systems were not yet restored.

The British airline cited a power supply issue as the reason behind the IT system malfunction, and not the professionals working on it.

While BA blames a power outage, a corporate IT expert told the BBC it should not have caused "even a flicker of the lights" in the data-centre.

The airline urged passengers to check their flight status online before traveling to the airport in a bid to avoid scenes seen over the weekend when people camped out at Heathrow. Passengers can also claim for compensation.

The carrier said it was refunding or rebooking passengers, though those efforts also had been hobbled by the computer outage.

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

Terry Page, 28, arrived in Fort Worth, Texas after delays and said "about 50" passengers did not have their check-in luggage.

He apologised "profusely" for the hardship caused to customers and insisted that a similar incident would never happen again.

USA carriers also have struggled with computer glitches in recent months that led to flight cancellations and delays. It followed an August breakdown that led to flight cancellations.

  • Zachary Reyes