IT failure to land British Airways with £80m bill

The parent company of British Airways is estimating it will lose £80m after the catastrophic failure of the airline’s IT systems last month.

The forecast was revealed to the International Airlines Group (IAG) AGM by chief executive Willie Walsh, who apologised again for the global disruption but congratulated staff on the way they handled the glitch.

It left 75,000 passengers stranded when more than 700 flights had to be cancelled over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

Many of those caught up in the chaos worldwide complained of a lack of information and poor treatment. Couples due to depart for their honeymoon were delayed for days or forced to cancel their trips.

IAG – which also owns Spain’s Iberia and Vueling, and Ireland’s Aer Lingus – admitted it now faced an uphill battle to restore customer trust.

Video:
Questions over BA’s IT glitch explanation

It has previously blamed the outage on an engineer failing to follow proper procedures while rebooting systems after a power failure. An independent investigation is continuing, though BA has denied union claims it was a result of the company outsourcing IT jobs.

:: ‘Worst honeymoon ever’ amid BA chaos

Mr Walsh told the shareholder meeting: “On 27 May British Airways suffered a power failure to its primary data centre which led to severe disruption to its flights.


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BA boss reacts to honeymooners’ delay

“Our initial assessment of the gross costs of the disruption is in the order of £80m. We will update the market at the appropriate time with more details.”

Mr Walsh added that “it was an outstanding achievement by the teams involved” to have dealt with such a problem, and stressed that IAG was “working hard to make sure customers are compensated”.


People stranded at Heathrow Terminal 5 amid a BA IT failure

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Passengers stranded for days after BA IT problem

Affected passengers were caught up in a tussle between the airline and insurers over who would foot the bill for expenses such as hotels and clothing – which resulted in the carrier agreeing to change the wording on its website.

Many were forced to sleep on airport floors.

Those hit in Europe are also able to claim up to £528 for cancelled or badly delayed flights under EU law.


People sleep at Heathrow Airport as a British Airways IT chaos affected 75,000 flights

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Which? – BA must compensate passengers

While issuing his own apology for the “unwelcome incident”, IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez told investors: “You can be reassured that we will do everything in our powers to avoid similar problems in the future and restore our customers’ faith in British Airways.”

BA passengers – and others – were caught up in an unrelated problem on Wednesday morning when baggage systems failed at two Heathrow terminals.


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