The British Airways data centre outage, which saw thousands of holidays disrupted over the three-day weekend, has been described by BA’s CEO as a ‘tragedy’.
The IT failure, which has clipped £500 million off the value of parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), saw BA cancel 75,000 flights to global locations over the busy bank holiday weekend.
BA chief executive, Alex Cruz, has apologised for the system failure and has denied claims from the GMB union that the meltdown occurred as a result of staff cuts and foreign IT outsourcing. The group suggested that BA had cut ‘hundreds of dedicated and loyal’ IT staff to outsource its IT requirements to India in an effort to save money.
Cruz also noted that there was no evidence to suggest a cyberattack was behind the system failure. Instead, the executive referred to a power surge at a data centre at around 9:30am on Saturday morning, which had a ripple effect on all of BA’s systems.
British Airways has yet to confirm the exact location of the affected data centre, but has pointed out that the power surge was recorded at a facility near to Heathrow.
In addition to the data centre power failure, it appears that BA’s backup and disaster recovery systems also failed to step in during the incident.
The CEO emphasised that passenger data has not been compromised, and that access to the ‘terror watch list’ for flights was not breached.
BA has now confirmed that its IT system is back up and running and that it expects to run a full schedule of flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports from Tuesday. It did admit however that significant work was underway to reunite affected passengers with missing luggage.
The airline has promised to compensate all customers affected by the ‘catastrophic’ failure. Passengers whose flights were disrupted will have the option to rebook their flights for any time over the next six months.