LONDON, 7 June 2017: The head of British Airways’ parent company has indicated that its giant computer crash, which sparked global flight chaos late last month, may have been caused by human error.
Some 75,000 passengers were affected by the computer system outage that caused chaotic scenes during the final weekend of May at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent firm International Airlines Group (IAG), suggested that an engineer disconnected and then reconnected a power supply to the data centre in “an uncontrolled and uncommanded fashion”.
“You could cause a mistake to disconnect the power — it’s difficult for me to understand how you can mistakenly reconnect the power,” Walsh told an industry conference in Mexico, according to comments published by The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.
He also vowed that an independent investigation would be carried out.
The airline boss said “physical damage to the servers and distribution panels” was caused, making it difficult for BA to overcome the power outage quickly.
And Walsh added that the technician was “authorised to be in the room, but wasn’t authorised to do what he did”.
The IAG boss was speaking on Monday at the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in the Mexican resort city of Cancun.
© Agence France-Presse