Data Centre

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

All flights from Gatwick and Heathrow were cancelled on 27 May

By Jude Karabus


Updated British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has said the root cause of Saturday's London flight-grounding IT systems ambi-cockup was "a power supply issue*" and that the airline has "no evidence of any cyberattack".

The airline has cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick amid what BA has confirmed to The Register is a "global IT system failure".

BA has a very large IT infrastructure; it has over 500 data cabinets spread across six halls in two different sites near its Heathrow Waterside HQ.

BA has not specified where the power surge occurred and we have asked them about this.

The airline's IT teams are working "tirelessly" to fix the problems, said Cruz.

This time last year, BA tech union reps were pleading with the Home Office airline not to outsource IT jobs to Tata Consultancy Services in India.

Regarding statements from the GMB trade union suggesting there was a link between the current problems and the IT redundancies and the outsourcing of some work to TCS last year, the airline told The Reg: "We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems.

"IT services are now provided globally by a range of suppliers and this is very common practice across all industries" and ... "the UK Government."

Speaking from the airline's operations centre near Heathrow in a Twitter vid, the chief exec said: "Today we have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide. All of our check-in and operation systems have been affected and we have cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick for today."

If you're still planning to travel with BA via Gatwick or Heathrow tonight, turn the car around, the message is "don't go" to the airport.

And don't call the call centre either!

"Naturally," said Cruz "many customers have tried to find out more information from our contact centres, but these centres are also hampered by the IT issues."

And don't try to rebook. That functionality is "limited" at the moment, the CEO confirmed.

He told customers to check BA's Twitter account or the website for updates. The airline told The Register passengers would be offered refunds and reschedules.

Other airlines flying from Heathrow and Gatwick have not been affected.

On the bright side, it's not raining... yet. We'll update when we hear more. ®


If you know more about the problem, or where the power supply issue occurred, please drop us a line here.

Update: The "power supply" issue was a power surge that occurred at a BA data centre on Saturday at 9.30am, Cruz has said. "We will make an in-depth investigation to make sure we get to the bottom of exactly why this happened and we will react absolutely, this will not happen again at British Airways."

Updated on Monday to add: The CEO has since confirmed the data centre was based in the UK, telling the Graun: "I can confirm that all the parties involved around this particular event have not been involved in any type of outsourcing in any foreign country. They have all been local issues around a local data centre who has been managed and fixed by local resources,” he said.

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