Passenger at Gatwick on SaturdayImage copyright Reuters

British Airways says it is aiming to run a “near normal schedule” at Gatwick and the “majority of services” from Heathrow on Sunday after a “major” IT failure saw all flights cancelled.

Serious problems with BA’s systems led to thousands of passengers having their plans disrupted on Saturday.

Passengers described “chaotic” scenes at the airports, with some criticising BA for a lack of information.

The airline apologised and said it was refunding and rebooking customers.

BA advised customers to continue checking the status of their flight on its website www.ba.com before travelling to the airport.

The airline said there was no evidence the computer problems were the result of a cyber attack.

The company’s chief executive Alex Cruz had said it was believed “the root cause was a power supply issue”.

Other airlines flying in and out of the two airports were unaffected.

The IT failure had affected check-in and operational systems, including customer service phone lines.

BA said although some of its IT systems have returned, “there will be some knock-on disruption to our schedules as aircraft and crews are out of position around the world.

“We are repositioning some aircraft during the night to enable us to operate as much of our schedule as possible throughout Sunday.”

A BA spokesman added: “We are continuing to work hard to restore all of our IT systems…

“We are extremely sorry for the huge disruption caused to customers throughout Saturday and understand how frustrating their experiences will have been.

“We are refunding or rebooking customers who suffered cancellations on to new services as quickly as possible and have also introduced more flexible rebooking policies for anyone due to travel on Sunday and Monday who no longer wishes to fly to/from Heathrow or Gatwick.”

Delayed luggage

Earlier, the airline said most long-haul flights due to land in London on Sunday were expected to arrive as normal.

The GMB union had suggested the failure could have been avoided, had the airline not outsourced its IT work.

BA denied the claim, saying: “We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems”.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Passengers were left stranded outside Heathrow Terminal 5 on Saturday as a result of the IT failure

Aviation expert Julian Bray told the BBC the IT failure had an impact on planes taking off, as well as baggage systems, and staff access to computers.

“This is a very serious problem, they should have been able to switch to an alternative system – surely British Airways should be able to do this,” he said.

BA aircraft landing at Heathrow had also been unable to park as outbound aircraft could not vacate the gates, which resulted in passengers being stuck on aircraft.

Delays were also reported in Rome, Prague, Milan, Stockholm and Malaga due to the system failure, which coincided with a bank holiday weekend and the start of the half-term holiday for many people in the UK.

Some passengers reported having to leave Heathrow without their luggage on Saturday.

BA confirmed the IT failure had led to a “significant number” of bags being left at the airport. It urged passengers not to return to collect their luggage, saying it would be returned to them via courier free of charge.


EU flight delay rights

Image copyright Getty Images
  • If your flight departed the European Union or was with a European airline, you might have rights under EU law to claim if the delay or cancellation was within the airline’s control
  • Short-haul flights: 250 euros for delays of more than three hours
  • Medium-haul flights: 400 euros for delays of more than three hours
  • Long-haul flights: 300 euros for delays of between three and four hours; and 600 euros for delays of more than four hours
  • If your flight’s delayed for two or more hours the airline must offer food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight – including transfers between the airport and the hotel

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