Sunday, 28 May 2017
British Airways cancels all flights from Gatwick and Heathrow due to IT failure
British Airways cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday due to a major IT failure causing severe disruption to its global operations that is expected to run into Sunday. The airline said its terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick became “extremely congested” due to the computer problems. It decided to cancel all flights from both airports before 6pm UK time on Saturday, then extended this to include all the day’s remaining flights from the UK’s largest two airports. BA said the delays could continue into Sunday, but most long-haul flights should be able to land as normal in London. A BA spokeswoman said: “We are working hard to get our customers who were due to fly today on to the next available flights over the course of the rest of the weekend. Those unable to fly will be offered a full refund.”
There were chaotic scenes at the London terminals on Saturday as people tried to make their way overseas for the long weekend and half-term school holiday. BA initially cancelled all flights before 6pm but later announced that planes would be grounded for the rest of the day. The computer crash affected BA’s booking system, baggage handling, mobile phone apps and check-in desks, leaving passengers facing long queues and confusion in airports or delays while planes were held on runways. More than 1,000 flights were affected. At Heathrow alone, BA had 406 flights scheduled to depart after 9am and a further 71 at Gatwick, according to flightstats.com on Saturday.
Experts believe passengers will be affected for several more days. Air industry consultant John Strickland said there was a “massive knock-on effect” because planes and crew were all in the wrong places. Chief executive Alex Cruz said: “We are extremely sorry for the huge inconvenience this is causing our customers and we understand how frustrating this must be, especially for families hoping to get away on holiday.”
Travellers were told to check ba.com and the airline’s Twitter account for updates about the situation.