Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

British Airways computer problem strands 20,000 passengers

The airline said on Wednesday it had resolved a "temporary systems issue"

More than 20,000 passengers have been affected after British Airways experienced technical problems. AP Photo
More than 20,000 passengers have been affected after British Airways experienced technical problems. AP Photo

British Airways cancelled more than 100 flights to and from London airports and delayed many others on Wednesday after its check-in systems were hit by computer problems, stranding more than 20,000 passengers.

The airline said that it had resolved a "temporary systems issue" that caused delays and cancellations for short-haul flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports for much of the day.

BA cancelled 117 flights due to operate to or from Heathrow and 10 Gatwick flights. More than 300 other flights were delayed.

The airline said short-haul passengers due to travel on Wednesday could rebook for another day.

It said flights were returning to normal by late afternoon, but warned there could be some "knock-on operational disruption".

"We apologise to all our customers caught up in the disruption and appreciate how frustrating their experience has been," it said.

At Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, passengers waited in snaking lines for information or to check in, as British Airways switched to backup and manual systems.

"There were massive queues," said Darren Rowe, whose flight to Hamburg, Germany, was cancelled.

"It was queue here, queue there. Nobody was saying anything. The lack of information was just pathetic."

The incident is the latest bout of tech trouble to hit the airline.

In May 2017, tens of thousands of passengers were stranded when a global computer failure grounded hundreds of the airline's flights over three days.

Its passengers were also hit with severe delays in July and September 2016 because of problems with the airline's online check-in systems.

The airline is set to be fined £183 million (Dh816.1m) by Britain's data regulator over a cyber attack on its security systems last year, in which the personal data of up to 500,000 customers was stolen.

Updated: August 8, 2019 03:45 AM

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