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IT hiccups hit BA, Lagos-London flights, others cancelled worldwide

Though the authorities are economical with words on the cause, British Airways’ (BA) crash OF internet network have led to thousands of passengers having their plans disrupted, after all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were cancelled.

Passengers recounted “chaotic” scenes at the airports, with some criticising BA for a lack of information.

Already, the airline has apologised, but was silent on compensation, telling passengers not to come to the airport pending rectification of the fault.

BA chief executive Alex Cruz said: “We believe the root cause was a power supply issue.”

One of the airlines most lucrative routes to Lagos, Nigeria was not left out of this worldwide systems breakdown as flights to Lagos from London were yesterday cancelled and passengers were left without flights for hours all over the globe owing to the computer glitch that wreak havoc for British Airways.

British Airways Country Commercial Manager for Nigeria and West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka had told the media that the BA Abuja flight was not affected yesterday because the problem started after the aircraft had departed.

Olayinka however said that Lagos flight expected to depart at 11.40pm had been cancelled as plane could not leave London because of the problem.

Olayinka disclosed that the Abuja flight was luckily airborne shortly before the glitch.

Except the problem is urgently resolved, Abuja flight from London could also be affected.

His words, “Tonight’s (last night) flight has been cancelled. The Abuja flight left before the glitch. They are trying to resolve the problem. The flight left before the glitch. It will be resolved. Our flight tonight to Lagos has been cancelled and we are hoping to restore the problems as soon as possible”.

“We are working closely with the airline to resolve this and are advising passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

Meanwhile, the computer glitch, which also took out the BA website for two hours, comes after an outage in September of last year which followed four in the space of a month across June and July.

Around the world planes were grounded and passengers stuck either in terminal buildings or on planes themselves, as a shortage of available gates meant incoming passengers had no opportunity to disembark.

Customers across the world have been tweeting the company complaining they have been waiting to get off their flights for up to three hours.

In a video statement released via Twitter, he added: “I am really sorry we don’t have better news as yet, but I can assure you our teams are working as hard as they can to resolve these issues.”

Mr Cruz said there was no evidence the computer problems were the result of a cyber attack.

BA flight disruption as it happened

BA passengers ‘trying not to cry’

The airline hoped to be able to operate some long haul inbound flights on Saturday, landing in London on Sunday, Mr Cruz added.

The GMB union has suggested the failure could have been avoided, had the airline not outsourced its IT work.

BA denied the claim, saying: “We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems”.

All passengers affected by the failure – which coincides with the first weekend of the half-term holiday for many in the UK – will be offered the option of rescheduling or a refund.

The airline, which had previously said flights would be cancelled until 18:00 BST, has now cancelled all flights for Saturday and asked passengers not to come to Gatwick or Heathrow airports.

Other airlines flying in and out of the two airports are unaffected.

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke was stuck in Heathrow. He told the BBC it was one of the “most turbulent, badly organised days, that I’ve ever experienced in Britain”.

“The lack of communication all day was woeful. There wasn’t a single Tannoy announcement all day in the terminal, not a single member of staff came up to us,” he said.

“The only time I found out my flight was cancelled was from the BBC News website.”

Piles of checked luggage could be seen on the floor in the Heathrow

baggage handlers load luggage onto a plane

Some passengers have reported having to leave Heathrow without their luggage

The problems have affected BA call centres, the website and the mobile app.

Aviation expert Julian Bray said: “It’s frozen the whole system so no British Airways plane can actually take off, they can’t move the baggage, they can’t issue passenger credentials, in fact they can’t do anything at all.

“This is a very serious problem, they should have been able to switch to an alternative system – surely British Airways should be able to do this.”

*Additional reports from the BBC

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