The GMB union said BA laid off hundreds of IT staff outsourcing the work to India, and blamed cost cutting for the travel chaos.

British Airways systems crash Services restored partially union blames outsourcing IT jobs to IndiaBritish Airways/Facebook
news IT Sector Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:54

British Airways has managed to restore some of its services at two major London airports -- Heathrow and Gatwick -- following a global blackout of the company's IT system that caused significant delays.

The blackout also sparked anger among the passengers who were left without their luggage.

The union for aviation workers in the UK on Sunday blamed the airline's decision last year of outsourcing IT jobs to India as causing the disruptions. The Guardian reported that British Airways GMB union has said the airline's decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the flight disruptions.

The GMB union, which had cautioned last year against outsourcing jobs, said BA laid off hundreds of IT staff outsourcing the work to India, and blamed cost cutting for the travel chaos.

"BA's disastrous computer systems failure is another example of the shortcomings of BA IT systems since they made a number of staff redundant, and outsourced their work to India in 2016," PTI reported the union as saying GMB.

Meanwhile, the British Airways has not blamed any Indian IT firm for the massive flight disruption over the last weekend that hit more than 1,000 flights.

Reacting to the incident that saw most services cancelled from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on May 27, the airlines told The Registrar that the problem occurred due to "power failure" and not because of any IT company.

"We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems. IT services are now provided globally by a range of suppliers and this is very common practice across all industries," British Airways CEO Alex Cruz told The Registrar.

The firm's CEO, Spaniard Alex Cruz, released a second video, after an initial one he released on Saturday, in which he apologized to customers for the "horrible experience" they have had to endure, going on to thank them for their "understanding and patience", Efe news reported on Sunday.

Cruz said that the majority of the BA operating systems are returning to full function, after an IT failure on Saturday forced the airline to suspend its flights and created general chaos, adding that the airline's employees were "working hard" to restore the flight program.

At Gatwick Airport, BA is now operating almost normally, although some delays are still occurring, while at Heathrow - Britain's busiest airport - the goal is to restore all long-distance flights, albeit with altered schedules.

Short flights either were cancelled or are being undertaken with delays from the airport west of the British capital, the firm said.

The airline is asking passengers not to go to the airports, which are still congested, until they have a confirmed flight reservation and they have been assured that the flight is scheduled properly. Those who go to Heathrow must not arrive more than 90 minutes before their departure time, given that there are restrictions on entering the terminals.

He said that the IT failure on Saturday was due to an electrical problem, promising refunds to people who decide to cancel their reservations, adding that those who prefer to change their flights to another date may do so until the end of November.

In his earlier video, Cruz had said that "Our IT teams are working tirelessly to fix the problems. We believe the root cause was a power supply issue and we have no evidence of any cyberattack."

In a statement shared on the company's Facebook page, BA said: "Although some of the IT systems have returned, there will be some knock-on disruption to our schedules as aircraft and crews are out of position around the world."

BA said that a significant number of bags left at Heathrow airport would be reunited with passengers free of charge by courier, and warned customers against coming to the airport to collect their luggage.

"We would like to say again how extremely sorry we are for the inconvenience this is causing our customers during this busy holiday period," the statement concluded.

 

With IANS inputs

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