British Airways cancels most flights from London

UK_airways

The airline had earlier suspended flights up to 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) because the two airports had become severely congested.

Passengers stuck at London's Heathrow Airport reported problems with baggage and flight delays. "We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible", a British Airways spokeswoman told CNN via email.

"We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers during this busy holiday period".

"Most long-haul flights due to land in London tomorrow are expected to arrive as normal, and we are working to restore our services from tomorrow", the company said.

British Airways has said a "power supply issue" was probably behind a global IT failure that grounded scores of flights.

BA staff in Heathrow's Terminal 5 were resorting to using white boards, according to passenger Gareth Wharton.

"We are working hard to get our customers who were due to fly today onto the next available flights over the course of the rest of the weekend".

She added: "They can't tell us when we're going to be leaving".

BA aircraft landing at Heathrow are unable to park up as outbound aircraft can not vacate the gates, which has resulted in passengers being stuck on aircraft, said the BBC report. It said in a tweet that the problem is global.

Melissa Davis, who runs a legal PR agency in London, was held for more than an hour and a half on the tarmac at Heathrow, on a BA flight returning from Belfast.

"Long line of planes on the tarmac", he said.

"Customers and from the airline's point of view - manpower, dealing with the backlog of aircraft out of position, parking spaces for the aircraft - it's a challenge and a choreographic nightmare".

Airlines depend on huge, overlapping and complex IT systems to do just about everything, from operating flights to handling ticketing, boarding, websites and mobile-phone apps.

And after years of rapid consolidation in the business, these computer systems may be a hodgepodge of parts of varying ages and from different merger partners, all layered on top of each other.

The GMB union said the disruption could have been avoided if the airline had not cut "hundreds of dedicated and loyal" IT staff and outsourced the jobs to India.

And in July, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights following a system failure.

In August a power surge near USA airline Delta's Atlanta headquarters caused computers to crash and led to widespread delays across Delta's entire network.

Delta said it lost US$100 million in revenue as a result of the outage.

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