British Airways cancels over 175 flights as IT outage enters second day | Air industry
British Airways has canceled more than 175 flights as the fallout from a computer outage entered its second day, fueling predictions of widespread travel disruption at the start of a bank holiday weekend set to be the busiest since before the pandemic.
While motorists took to the roads, encouraged by the forecast for sunny and warm weather at the start of the school holidays, reports of blocked highways were already emerging on Friday afternoon.
At Heathrow, thousands of British Airways passengers have been left disappointed and unsettled as a computer glitch that began on Thursday evening led to their flights being grounded.
The number of BA flights from Heathrow to be canceled had risen from 50 on Friday morning to more than 170 by afternoon, amid reports of long queues at Britain’s biggest airport .
The majority of those affected were traveling on popular short-haul routes for city breaks, including destinations such as Paris, Athens, Nice and Rome.
In a response to a customer on Friday afternoon, the British Airways Twitter account said the company’s IT issues had been resolved. However, its website still advised passengers to check their flight status before heading to the airport, as the ripple effect of the outage has caused further disruption.
An airline spokesperson said: “While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate today, we have canceled some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow due to the effect of training for a technical problem that we encountered yesterday.
“We apologized to customers whose flights were affected and offered them the option of rebooking another flight with us or another carrier, or requesting a refund.”
The airline has tried to prioritize routes where there are few alternatives by choosing to concentrate cancellations on destinations served by my multiple flights per day.
The outage comes at the worst possible time, with 3,000 flights scheduled to depart the UK on Friday, the highest daily total since before the Covid pandemic.
Motoring organizations have also predicted “hectic” conditions on the roads, with more than 19 million people expected to travel by car between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
According to Inrix analysts, there will be major delays to the M25, M5 in Somerset and M6 in Cheshire.
As holidaymakers and commuters took to the roads at the same time, traffic jams were reported on the M4 and M5 roads between London and the West Country.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said the number of people driving away could reach levels not seen since before the pandemic, with sunny weather proving a catalyst.
“With the Met Office currently predicting largely stable weather with above average temperatures, we expect it to be a busy time on the main roads,” he said.
Exceptionally, rail travelers benefit from a holiday weekend without scheduled stops. There are very few major engineering works, meaning most UK rail services will operate as normal.
However, there will be a series of rail strikes in the second half of the school holiday week, with Aslef drivers absent on May 31 and June 3, and RMT union train crews on strike on June 2. Most services across England are likely to be disrupted when drivers go on strike, with severe disruption during the RMT action.