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British Airways latest: Flight delays enter third day after IT meltdown

03 June 2017

Thousands of British Airways passengers could be entitled to compensation after a global IT failure caused mass disruption over the bank holiday weekend.

At this stage we know there was an exceptional power surge that collapsed our IT systems, bringing down all our flight, baggage and customer communication systems.

Cruz released a video statement yesterday (28 May) on Twitter where he apologised for the IT failure which grounded planes from Heathrow and Gatwick and left thousands of passengers stranded.

Travellers spent Saturday night trying to sleep on yoga mats spread on terminal floors after BA cancelled all flights leaving London airports, and disruption continued into Sunday with dozens more services from Heathrow axed.

"We believe the root cause was a power supply issue", said Cruz, adding that IT teams were working "tirelessly" to fix the problems.

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The airline said Monday that it was running most flights as normal, but the disruption resulted in tense scenes at London's two biggest airports, in particular.

The airline has suffered other IT glitches recently, leading to severe delays for passengers in July and September previous year.

After the outage caused more than 1,000 flights to be delayed or cancelled, including BA's sister airlines in Spain, Iberia and Air Nostrum, focus quickly turned to Mr Cruz's handling of the company, having shut down the airline's computer department a year ago, slashing 700 jobs in the UK.

Many passengers complained about a lack of information from the airline.

The airline, which is part of the broader International Airlines Group, cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday after the IT outage.

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BA has not explained the cause of the power outage, but the unions blamed the airline's decision previous year of outsourcing IT jobs to India for causing the disruptions.

Experts say the knock-on effect could continue for several days, with the airline facing huge compensation costs - up to £100 million according to some estimates.

Passengers faced hours-long lines to check in, reclaim lost luggage or rebook flights at Terminal 5, BA's hub at Heathrow.

The IT systems of airlines come into play at every step, including ticket booking, check-in and boarding, while technology is updated periodically to streamline operations and cut costs. These can amount to €600 ($670) per passenger and the airline has also had to pay for refreshments and other expenses for tens of thousands of passengers stranded at airports.

BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a BBC interview on Monday that he would not resign over what the company had earlier termed "a worldwide IT system issue", and denied it was the result of IT outsourcing to India.

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