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British Airways Cancels All Flights From Major London Airports After IT Failure

The airline said it was battling to operate long-haul inbound flights.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:May 30, 2017, 12:43 PM IST
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British Airways Cancels All Flights From Major London Airports After IT Failure
The airline said it was battling to operate long-haul inbound flights. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ JUSTIN TALLIS)

British Airways cancelled all its flights out of major London airports Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday after a computer systems failure, causing chaos for thousands of passengers on a busy holiday weekend.

"We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide," BA said.

BA flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick were initially cancelled until 6.00 pm (1700 GMT) but the airline later said there would be no flights for the rest of the day.

The breakdown took out all of the carrier's check-in and operational systems and affected call centres and its website, but did not appear to be a cyber attack, according to a video statement by chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz.

Britain is still recovering from a ransomware attack that crippled crucial infrastructure earlier this month.

"We believe the root cause was a power supply issue," said Cruz, adding that IT teams were working "tirelessly" to fix the problems.

"We will make arrangements to get customers on their way as soon as we possibly can."

Full refunds will be given to customers who decide they no longer wish to travel, Cruz said.

The airline said it was battling to operate long-haul inbound flights late Saturday to land in London on Sunday.

The outage comes on a busy weekend in Britain, where Monday is a public holiday and many schoolchildren are beginning their half-term break.

BA warned people not to come to the "extremely congested" airports. An AFP photographer at Heathrow's Terminal 5 said many travellers were waiting outside the departure area with their luggage in "chaotic" scenes.

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