BA board members to request inquiry into IT outage

In a letter to BA chief executive Alex Cruz, Which? managing director of home product and services Alex Neill wrote: "You have "profusely" apologised to passengers, many of whom have had their holidays ruined, and have "committed" to following the rules on compensation".

On Saturday night, travellers spent the night sleeping on yoga mats spread on terminal floors after BA cancelled all flights leaving Heathrow and Gatwick.

According to The Telegraph, the internal investigation being led by Cruz focuses on the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to Boadicea House, one of two data centres at Heathrow.

However, British Airways is not the first airline to fall victim of a major computer failure, with IT breakdowns becoming a worryingly increasing occurrence across the industry.

The Association of British Insurers has accused the airline of giving passengers the wrong information and complicating the claims process to avoid having to pay up.

A BA spokeswoman said: "We sincerely apologise for the difficulties and frustration customers faced during the huge disruption across the bank holiday weekend".

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Thousands were left stranded when an IT systems failure on Saturday left the airline unable to allow passengers to check in or board flights.

"We understand what happened, we're still investigating why it happened and that investigation will take some time". The carrier blamed the outage on a power surge at its data hub near London's Heathrow Airport, and says it was caused by hardware and not by the center's outsourced software functions.

"This was entirely a problem relating to the power supply".

It said those caught up in disruption "should be able to claim compensation and refunds for any expenses as simply as possible, not passed from pillar to post".

British Airways isn't the first airline to be laid low by a power failure.

Cruz denied GMB's claims that the issue may be linked to BA cutting hundreds of IT jobs and contracting the work to India previous year.

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The BA statement rejected the GMB's claims, saying its decision to outsource its IT requirements played no part in the incident.

"There was no-one from BA there until the evening, we finally found someone, they checked their systems and said that the bag wasn't at Dallas and looked like it was still at Heathrow".

"This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries".

"I think it's clear we're heading to what looks to be a very ugly divorce at the moment", he said.

He told Sky News: "On Saturday morning at around 9.30 there was indeed a power surge that had a catastrophic effect over some communications hardware which eventually affected all the messaging across our systems".

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