British Airways canceled all flights from London’s Heathrow and Getwick airports scheduled before 6 pm, after a global computer system outage caused massive delays and left planes stuck on runways. Earlier on Saturday, there were reports of BA staff telling disgruntled passengers trying to get away for the Bank Holiday weekend that the company was under cyber attack but this was denied by the airline.
#Breaking British Airways apologises to customers who are facing delays “following an IT outage”
— Press Association (@PA) May 27, 2017
The airline said terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick had become extremely congested because of the IT failure and all BA flights scheduled before 1700 GMT had been canceled. he airline also advised passengers against coming to the airports as it would not be able to help them.
“Please do not come to the airports. We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” the airline said in a statement. “We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and we are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
We apologise for the current IT systems outage. We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
— British Airways (@British_Airways) May 27, 2017
Passengers who were already at the airports were angry with the resulting chaos:
“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.
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) May 27, 2017
— Philip Napiorkowski (@ukphillad) May 27, 2017
— Lesley Mancuso (@lesallyn) May 27, 2017
The official Twitter account of Heathrow Airport, the busiest airport in Europe, confirmed the IT failure abd said it was working with BA.
We’re working with @British_Airways following an issue with their IT system this morning that has caused some delays for passengers. 1/2
— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) May 27, 2017
Following initial reports that the ground halt was the result of a computer hacks, British Airways refuted media claims that the outage had been caused by a cyber attack, saying that there was no evidence to support that.
The problems, which passengers said were had affected flights across Britain, came on a particularly busy weekend with a public holiday on Monday and many children starting their school half-term breaks.
BA became 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. Passengers trying to catch planes in Britain on Saturday reported long delays at check-in desks and flights being held on runways.