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The IT outage that prevented thousands of British Airways passengers from travelling will cost the airline £80 million at least.

The chief executive of BA International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, told stakeholders that after assessing the cost of the IT failure, it is “in the order of £80m”.

Human error

The outage was apparently caused by an engineer who disconnected a power supply by mistake. This occurred at a data centre near Heathrow, and when it was reconnected it caused a power surge that resulted in serious damage - taking out BA’s systems.

This resulted in over 400 cancelled flights and 75,000 passengers being stranded in airports.


Mr Walsh said sorry again for last month’s chaos at IAG’s annual meeting, describing it as a “dreadful experience”. He also added that British Airways was “working hard to ensure that affected passengers are compensated as soon as possible”.

IT cuts

Throughout the outage, unions that represented aviation workers, claimed that the reason the outage had occurred was because BA had made significant cuts in IT. Mr Walsh defended BA by saying “…this failure had absolutely nothing to do with changes to the way we resource our IT systems and services."

To top this all off, BA then suffered more bad press as the airline was affected by a baggage system problem at Heathrow on Thursday that left many flying without their luggage.

Importance of IT

While BA continue to blame the outage on human error, it again highlights the importance of investing in IT for business instead of considering at as some sort of nuisance. If BA had truly valued IT’s importance in day to day operations then there may have been a better contingency plan in place in the event of such a catastrophic error.

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