British Airways orders independent probe into systems meltdown

Walsh also revealed that the IT problem could have occurred because a technician disconnected and then reconnected power to BA's data system, says The Guardian.

The engineer was authorized to be on site "but not to do what he did", according to Walsh, speaking to the BBC.

IAG, which also owns Iberia and Vueling in Spain and Aer Lingus in Ireland, also confirmed press reports that it will commission an independent forensic of what went wrong.

There will be an independent investigation "to learn from the experience", Walsh said. However, according to experts, it was too simplistic to blame a power surge.

At an annual airline conference in Mexico on Monday the BA boss said: "It's very clear to me that you can make a mistake in disconnecting the power".

Walsh said "physical damage to the servers and distribution panels" was caused, making it hard for BA to overcome the power outage quickly, and added that the technician was "authorised to be in the room, but wasn't authorised to do what he did".

A leaked BA email last week had pointed the finger at a single contractor.

The email said: "This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries..."

British Airways pointed to human error as the cause for mass flight cancellations that grounded at least 75,000 passengers last month.

That would not have been a big problem in itself, he said, but the damage was caused when the power was restored in an uncontrolled fashion.

Of the fed-up passengers who complained they had been left to queue before leaving Heathrow Airport, he said: "I wouldn't suggest for one minute we got communications right at BA, we didn't". "But we have recovered from worse".

The outage estimated to have cost as much as 100 million euros ($112 million) put pressure on BA chief Alex Cruz, who has pushed to cut costs since taking charge a year ago.

  • Zachary Reyes