Saturday 19 August 2017

BA fleet grounded by 'human error' - Walsh

IAG chief Willie Walsh blamed an engineer for the IT outage
IAG chief Willie Walsh blamed an engineer for the IT outage

Richard Weiss and Benjamin Katz

IAG boss Willie Walsh has blamed human error for a British Airways IT outage that led to mass flight cancellations and grounded at least 75,000 passengers last month.

An engineer had disconnected a power supply at a data centre near London's Heathrow airport, causing a surge that resulted in major damage when it was reconnected, Mr Walsh, CEO of parent IAG, told reporters in Mexico.

The incident caused BA's information-technology systems to crash, causing hundreds of flights to be grounded over three days as the airline re-established its communications.

The engineer in question had been authorised to be on site, but not "to do what he did", Walsh said on Monday, according to BBC. He added that an independent investigation into the problem would now be carried out. IAG confirmed the comments.

The outage, which is estimated to have cost as much as €100m, put pressure on BA chief Alex Cruz, who has pushed to cut costs since taking charge a year ago.

Walsh had earlier defended Mr Cruz's handling of the incident, saying it was "very unfair" to blame him. Still, questions remain on how a single technician could cause so much disruption, and why backup systems failed.

BA is IAG's biggest earner, and Mr Cruz is tasked with boosting profits amid competition from the likes of EasyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle by cutting legroom, charging for meals and outsourcing IT. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

Also in Business