British Airways has another IT glitch
August is one of the busiest months for London’s Heathrow airport, the largest in Europe, as Britons leave for their summer holidays. On August 7 their destinations became even more congested when British Airways (BA)’s computer systems crashed, resulting in the cancellation of 138 flights and the delay of another 260. At least 35,000 passengers had their travel plans cancelled; Long lines of stretched BA passengers could be seen milling around the airport for the rest of the day.
Further unrest is expected later this month as 4,000 BA pilots have voted to strike after rejecting a three-year pay deal. The two crises are not the most remote. They are among a growing list of mismanagement problems at the airline. Last month BA was fined £183m ($229m) for allowing hackers to steal around 500,000 customer credit card details from its website. It also suffered at least four debilitating IT glitches in 2016 and 2017. Its online ticketing system often sells first-class and business fares at unwitting economy prices, generating bad headlines and disappointed customers when he cancels the transactions again.
Now a pattern is emerging, big investors are growing weary of BA’s management, as well as its parent group, IAG. Although IAG made record profits in 2018, some aviation analysts are increasingly concerned that BA’s sloppy management of its computer systems could create major unexpected liabilities in the future, such as claims for compensation when things go wrong. In the words of one IAG investor, BA’s Executives should “put in the time to make the IT work, not join bloggers on the A350”. Ouch.