British Airways suffered a major operational meltdown on Thursday evening after a second IT crash in less than a week forced the airline to delay flights worldwide as employees scrambled to check-in customers on backup systems.
Crucial IT systems were brought down on the same day that Russian officials imposed sanctions on British airlines, banning them from flying through Russia’s airspace or landing in the country.
British Airways denied it had fallen victim to a cyberattack that has prevented passengers from checking-in online and left pilots unable to access important safety systems that calculate weight and balance.
On its Twitter account, British Airways said it was “investigating and working hard to resolve a technical issue”. A spokesperson apologised for any inconvenience that had been caused.
Down Detector, which traces website issues, recorded a sharp spike in customers reporting issues with the British Airways website from around 5 pm on Thursday evening.
The issue has taken the British Airways website completely offline. Behind the scenes, systems have also been taken offline but a British Airways spokesperson said the airline had managed to switch to backup systems.
A similar issue hit the airline for several hours on Sunday before technicians got systems back up and running.
In 2017, British Airways suffered a major, days long IT outage that left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded after an outsourced IT contractor pulled the wrong plug at a data warehouse owned by the airline.
Just a year later, the airline revealed that hackers had managed to steal data belonging to 380,000 passengers. British Airways was slapped with the largest data protection fine ever handed down by officials but after dragging out the appeals process, regulators reduced the fine because of the impact the pandemic had on BA’s finances.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.