In Brief

BA orders inquiry into IT meltdown

Chief executive Willie Walsh says technician may have caused bank holiday travel chaos after disconnecting cable

British Airways has commissioned an inquiry into the IT problems that left 75,000 passengers stranded at Heathrow on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and "could cost the airline £150m", says The Times

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA's parent company International Airlines Group, told a conference in Mexico: "We have commissioned an independent company to conduct a full investigation."

He added: "It will be peer reviewed and we will be happy to disclose details."

Walsh also revealed that the IT problem could have occurred because a technician disconnected and then reconnected power to BA's data system, says The Guardian.

BA could have overcome the original outage "probably in a couple of hours", he continued, adding: "I don't think it would have led to any cancellations."

However, the power was restored in "an uncontrolled and uncommanded fashion that caused physical damage to the servers and distribution panels". 

He said: "You could cause a mistake to disconnect the power – it’s difficult for me to understand how you can mistakenly reconnect the power."

Walsh did not seek to absolve BA entirely, admitting its "communications [were] poor after the incident, in which thousands of passengers were stranded at Heathrow before having to queue to leave".

He said: "It’s damaged us, but it hasn’t destroyed us in any way. We’ve recovered from worse. The BA brand is incredibly resilient."

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