On Tuesday, British Airways flights were restored and back in the skies, but this didn’t reduce the pressure on the company on its response to the massive IT failure. Nearly 75,000 passengers were left stranded during the holiday weekend and the company’s reputation suffered a huge blow. Once, BA had marketed itself as the ‘world’s favorite airline’, but it had a public relations disaster on its hands on Saturday when it had to cancel all flights from London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports. A power surge was blamed for flight cancellations as the airlines claimed that their computer systems were knocked out thereby disrupting its flight operations, website and call centers.
While British Airways stated that a full schedule would be run from Gatwick and Heathrow on Tuesday, there is still considerable work to be done in the long term if it wishes to restore its reputations. Customers were not happy at being stranded on airports and the weekend was nothing short of chaos. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, also weighed in on the issue during the campaign trial ahead of the national elections to be June 8th. She said that it was their responsibility for sorting out their IT issues and provide people with the service that’s expected of them in their role as British Airways.
When the stock market reopened, London-listed shares of IAG, BA’s parent company, took a hit. The airlines said that they were conducting a thorough investigation for figuring out what had incurred and ensuring it wouldn’t happen again. The company has already faced criticism for charging extra for baggage and food and its image is most certainly going to be tarnished due to hundreds of stranded passengers sleeping on the floor of its gleaming Terminal 5 building at the Heathrow airport. Similar to other European full-service airlines, BA is also facing tough competition from budget rivals like EasyJet and Ryanair.
The IT failure of the British Airways over the weekend is essential a PR nightmare and they will only be able to rebuild the public confidence and trust if they truly focus in terms of handling compensation claims and other customer complaints. Alex Cruz, the chief executive for British Airways, said on Monday that the power outage was so severe that even the backup systems had been rendered ineffective. The company said that the surge was sparked by a supply issue at a data center near Heathrow airport.
The electricity distribution network just north of Heathrow airport is handled by the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. They said that their network had been functioning normally on Saturday. A spokesman said that the power surge mentioned by the BA could have been on the customer’s end of the meter. As far as Heathrow airport is concerned, a spokeswoman for them said that their private electricity network had been working normally on Saturday morning. Cruz denied rumors that the outage had been caused because of BA’s decision to cut back staff and outsource its work to India.