Published on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

BA's catastrophic IT failure might have been human error

British Airways is trying to establish whether a catastrophic IT failure last weekend was caused by a mechanical fault or human error.

Investigations are centering on the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) at Boadicea House, one of two data centres close to Heathrow.

On Saturday morning, power to Boadicea House through its UPS was shut down for an unknown reason, according to the Telegraph.

Under normal circumstances, power would have been restored to the computer servers gradually, while BA's other data centre, at Comet House, would have taken up some of the slack, according to the Telegraph article.

However, when power was restored it damaged the BA servers, which contained data on customers, crew, flight paths and other operational information, causing flights to be grounded worldwide and leaving 75,000 passengers stranded.

BA initially blamed the catastrophy on a 'power surge', but local energy suppliers denied there had been such a surge in the area.

Chief executive Alex Cruz is now leading a probe into what went wrong, having received the public backing of Willie Walsh, the boss of BA parent company IAG.

A spokesman for Walsh told the Telegraph that he did not consider the events over the weekend to be anything to do with decisions made by Cruz, who was brought into the airline to cut costs.

However, Cruz has been criticised by the GMB union for sacking IT staff in the UK and outsourcing their roles to India.

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