British Airways ‘working hard’ to compensate grounded passengers

Chief executive Willie Walsh claims human error was the cause of the failure

International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

British Airways’s is “working hard” to compensate passengers hit by the systems failure that grounded almost 700 flights, according to its parent, International Airlines Group (IAG).

A power failure that hit internal British Airways systems forced the airline to cancel 672 flights over the weekend of May 27th-28th, affecting about 75,000 passengers and leaving it with an estimated £150 million compensation bill.

Speaking in Mexico, Willie Walsh, chief executive officer of parent IAG, pointed to human error as the cause of the failure. An engineer had disconnected a power supply at a data centre near Heathrow Airport in London, causing a surge that resulted in major damage when it was reconnected, Mr Walsh told reporters. The engineer in question had been authorised to be on site, but not “to do what he did,” Mr Walsh said, according to BBC. He added that an independent investigation into the problem would now be carried out. IAG confirmed the comments.

IAG said that an independent investigation would examine every aspect of the failure. “British Airways is working hard to compensate affected passengers as quickly as possible,” it added.

A number of Irish passengers suffered as a result, although Aer Lingus, which is part of IAG, was able to offer alternative flights to some of those hit. British Airways had to cancel eight flights from Dublin Airport as a result.

The group, which also owns Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling, said that total passenger numbers grew 2.6 per cent in May to 9.1 million from 8.9 million during the same month last year.

IAG’s four airlines carried 39 million people in the first five months of the year, 4.9 per cent more than the 37.2 million they carried during the same period in 2016.

Figures for Aer Lingus show that its business grew 10.6 per cent in May and grew 13.7 per cent over the first five months of the year.

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