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British Airways aircraft at London's Heathrow Airport. (File photo: AFP/Carl De Souza)

British Airways flights grounded after global IT outage

LONDON: British Airways said Saturday (May 27) that it had cancelled all its flights out of major London airports Heathrow and Gatwick after an IT systems failure, warning people not to travel to the congested hubs.

“We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” BA said in a statement.

“The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested and we have cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick before 6.00 pm UK time today (1700 GMT), so please do not come to the airports.”

The airline said it had found “no evidence that it’s a cyberattack,” with Britain still recovering from a ransomware attack that crippled key infrastructure earlier this month.

The problems, which passengers said were affecting flights across the country, came on a particularly busy weekend in Britain with a public holiday on Monday and many children starting their school half-term breaks.

“We apologise to customers who are facing some delays following an IT outage this morning,” a BA spokeswoman said. “We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”

Passengers on social media reported long delays and flights by the IAG-owned airline being held on runways, at the start of a long holiday weekend in Britain.

“Still on the tarmac at Leeds. #britishairways reckon Heathrow is so backed up we can’t set off. No way we’ll make our Vegas flight,” one passenger David Raine wrote on Twitter.

Another, journalist Martyn Kent, wrote: “Sat on plane at Heathrow for hour and a half now. @British_Airways Captain describes IT problem as ‘catastrophic’.”

Passenger Roshni Burt, who was flying from Heathrow to Bahrain with her young son, said there was no news about when her flight would depart.

“When we left the check-in area there were angry people, people getting frustrated that their flights were coming up or near to departure, people getting turned away … with BA staff basically saying ‘if you’ve not checked in online, you’ve missed your flight’,” she told Sky News.

BA is the latest airline to be hit by computer problems. Last month Lufthansa and Air France suffered a global system outage which prevented them from boarding passengers.
Source: CNA/Reuters/dt

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