British Airways (BA) finally starts to recover from a disastrous IT failure and is facing huge questions on how an IT system and backup power supply failed to operate. Causing thousands of delays from Heathrow and Gatwick. In total, the disruption has caused chaos in 70 countries and the three-day chaos affected over 75,000 passengers.
Cost cutting is blamed and transferring critical data infrastructures to India is blamed as the cause, however, BA’s chief executive has denied these allegations an inquest is under way into what went wrong and why it has taken so long to fix it.
A mass of conflicting information about passengers and airline routes is what caused BA to cancel all the flights and a failure for the backup power system was what caused the problems. The inquest must determine how this was possible as all major infrastructure networks are provided with an uninterrupted power supply, banks and utilities companies are served with the same supply which did not fail during the surge.
Even if the power could not be restored, the airline’s Disaster Recovery Plan should have whirred into action. But that will have depended in part on veteran staff with knowledge of the complex patchwork of systems built up over the years. Many of those people may have left when much of the IT operation was outsourced to India.
And there may have been a situation where one team was frantically trying to restore the original system while elsewhere another team was attempting to fire up the back-up – with managers unsure which of the two workstreams to prioritise.
Since the disaster, the BA chief executive Alex Cruz says he will not resign and that flight disruption had nothing to do with cutting costs. Many IT specialists disagree with his assertion.
In summary, complex IT systems do fail from time to time, but smart organisations have the people and processes in place to recover quickly. BA has said little so far about what went wrong. However, it will now be under pressure from investors, staff and passengers to provide some answers.
If your travel plans have been affected by this failure from BA, then please contact us and we will share your story as well direct you to compensation specialists.