LONDON – The United Kingdom’s largest airline, British Airways, on Sunday managed to restore some of its services at two major London airports following a global blackout of the company’s IT system that caused significant delays and sparked anger among passengers who were left without their luggage.
The firm’s CEO, Spaniard Alex Cruz, released a second video, after an initial one he released on Saturday, in which he apologized to customers for the “horrible experience” they have had to endure, going on to thank them for their “understanding and patience.”
Cruz said that the majority of the BA operating systems are returning to full function, after an IT failure on Saturday forced the airline to suspend its flights and created general chaos, adding that the airline’s employees were “working hard” to restore the flight program.
At Gatwick Airport, BA is now operating almost normally, although some delays are still occurring, while at Heathrow – Britain’s busiest airport – the goal is to restore all long-distance flights, albeit with altered schedules.
Short flights either were cancelled or are being undertaken with delays from the airport west of the British capital, the firm said.
The airline is asking passengers not to go to the airports, which are still congested, until they have a confirmed flight reservation and they have been assured that the flight is scheduled properly. Those who go to Heathrow must not arrive more than 90 minutes before their departure time, given that there are restrictions on entering the terminals.
He said that the IT failure on Saturday was due to an electrical problem, promising refunds to people who decide to cancel their reservations, adding that those who prefer to change their flights to another date may do so until the end of November.
In his earlier video, Cruz had said that “Our IT teams are working tirelessly to fix the problems. We believe the root cause was a power supply issue and we have no evidence of any cyberattack.”
BA’s computer system failure on Saturday brought its operations out of London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports to a standstill on what was a public holiday weekend in the UK.
In a statement shared on the company’s Facebook page, BA said: “Although some of the IT systems have returned, there will be some knock-on disruption to our schedules as aircraft and crews are out of position around the world.”
“At this stage we are aiming to operate a near normal schedule of flights from Gatwick and the majority of our Heathrow services,” it continued.
Through the course of the day, disgruntled passengers shared images online showing long queues at the departure gates, airport terminal buildings packed with stranded passengers sleeping on the floor and complaints that luggage items had been lost.
BA said that a significant number of bags left at Heathrow airport would be reunited with passengers free of charge by courier, and warned customers against coming to the airport to collect their luggage.
“We would like to say again how extremely sorry we are for the inconvenience this is causing our customers during this busy holiday period,” the statement concluded.