Back-up power failure hits BA IT systems

A failure of a back-up power system was to blame for the problems that hit a key British Airways IT system last weekend, causing...

A failure of a back-up power system was to blame for the problems that hit a key British Airways IT system last weekend, causing delays for passengers and cancelled flights.

A team of IT experts at the airline are investigating why BA’s in-house power backup failed to kick in when a single power circuit blew at one of the company’s offices at Heathrow airport. BA said this affected its departure system, which handles check-in and baggage.

The distribution system at Heathrow’s terminal one was worst hit by the Saturday morning outage, with 11 flights cancelled, although the spokesman admitted that problems with the system were also experienced "in pockets" around the world.

He said, “When the backup power system didn’t kick in, our main focus was on fixing the original problem."

“This didn’t affect our major commercial system, BA.com or our Unix operating system. It didn’t affect terminal four, our main long-haul hub,” he added.

The power outage took place at 6.45am, and terminal one’s distribution system took more than two hours to get running again.

Jamie Snowdon, research director at analyst firm IDC, said that BA’s problem highlighted the need for businesses to plan for every eventuality.

“This underlines the need to make sure that all your backup systems are working and, where possible, have a manual process to support them,” he said.

BA’s power problems came just a week after a power cut crippled London’s transport network, affecting thousands of homes and businesses in the capital.

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