Computer outage grounds hundreds of British Airways flights in London

By JILL LAWLESS


LONDON (AP) — British Airways canceled all flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

The airline said it was suffering a “major IT systems failure” around the world. It didn’t say what was causing the problem but said there was no evidence of a cyberattack.

BA operates hundreds of flights from the two London airports on a typical day — and both are major hubs for worldwide travel.

Several hours after problems began cropping up Saturday morning, BA suspended flights up to 6 p.m. (1700GMT) because the two airports had become severely congested. The airline later scrapped flights from Heathrow and Gatwick for the rest of the day.

Passengers at Heathrow reported long lines at check-in counters and the failure of the airline’s website and its mobile app. BA said the crash also affected call centers.

The airline said it was working to restore services out of Heathrow and Gatwick beginning Sunday, although there will still be some disruptions. It said it expected that London-bound long-haul flights would land on schedule Sunday.

One person posted a picture on Twitter of BA staff writing gate numbers on a white board.

“We’ve tried all of the self-check-in machines. None were working, apart from one,” said Terry Page, booked on a flight to Texas. “There was a huge queue for it and it later transpired that it didn’t actually work, but you didn’t discover that…

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