British Airways has suffered yet another operational meltdown as a result of an IT outage, this time affecting a vital flight planning system that provides detailed route information and other important data that pilots need before a flight can be despatched.
The outage appears to have started late on Monday night, with the problem mainly affecting long-haul flights departing North America bound for London Heathrow and Gatwick.
British Airways said the IT outage only affected flights that weren’t already in the air and that safety was assured. The outage did, however, mean that planes still on the ground weren’t able to depart until the problem was resolved.
A spokesperson for the airline was not immediately able to say when the flight planning system would be back up and running but said the carrier was “urgently investigating” the cause.
Short-haul services across Europe were, the spokesperson added, mostly operating as normal, although there could be some delays and cancellations.
Frustrated passengers took to Twitter to share their frustrations after many were left waiting on idled planes for hours with little information as to when their flights might actually depart.
Some passengers said their flights had been scrapped because the pilots and cabin crew had ‘timed out’ and could no longer legally work due to safety rules.
In an emailed statement, British said: “We’re experiencing delays to some of our flights due to a technical issue with our flight planning.”
“We’re sorry for the disruption to our customers’ journey, we’re urgently investigating this so that they can travel as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson said the airline would provide customers with refreshments and regular updates. British Airways is also responsible for providing hotel accommodation for severely delayed flights and is also likely to face a huge compensation bill from customers claiming under EU’s denied boarding regulations.
At least six hours after the IT outage occurred, British Airways was still unable to say what the cause of the issue was and when a full resolution was expected.
Over the weekend, the airline suffered a luggage meltdown at its Heathrow hub, where passengers were forced to wait for hours for their suitcases to arrive. Thousands of suitcases remain stranded at the airport and need to be repatriated with their owners.
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.