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British Airways will not cut back IT projects despite strike losses

James Rogers
British Airways has denied that the recent wildcat strike by check-in staff at Heathrow Airport will affect its long-term IT strategy, despite costing the company up to £40m.

BA revealed last week that the dispute with staff over an electronic clocking-on system, which left thousands of passengers stranded at Heathrow, had cost between £30m and £40m.

The loss comes at a difficult time for the airline, with revenues suffering as a result of the war in Iraq and the impact of the Sars virus.

However, officials said BA's other IT projects will not be affected. A spokeswoman said, "The strikes will not have any impact on ongoing IT projects at BA. It is unlikely that the IT budget will be cut."

BA has already won plaudits for its cost-cutting IT programme. Earlier this year the airline revealed that it had hit its target of slashing IT costs by £50m a year through a wide-ranging consolidation of its IT infrastructure.

Other technology initiatives at BA include plans to achieve 100% electronic ticketing by the end of 2004 and updating and consolidating the software that supports booking and check-in.

The dispute over the electronic swipecard system was finally resolved last week after lengthy negotiations between BA and the unions. The system is due to become fully operational in September.

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