British Airways cancels more than 140 flights ahead of the bank holiday weekend
British Airways canceled more than 140 flights on the busiest leisure days of the year as it struggled to resolve a computer problem that also affected the ability of some passengers to check in remotely.
A person familiar with the airline’s operations said 23 departures from Heathrow were canceled on Friday morning, leading to the removal of 46 return flights. Another 20 Heathrow arrivals were canceled because Thursday’s outbound flights had not been operated.
A total of 80 flights were canceled on Thursday. The airline’s website asked passengers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport. “We are aware of a technical issue, which we have been working hard to fix,” the website said.
British Airways said it apologized to passengers whose flights were affected and offered them the option of rebooking an alternative flight with BA or another airline, or requesting a refund. The airline normally operates around 850 daily flights.
The airline, part of the International Airlines Group, said it had focused cancellations on routes with multiple daily flights to ensure passengers had alternatives. A sample of 67 scheduled BA departures from Heathrow on Friday showed two cancellations and 30 were expected to leave late.
BA said: “While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate today, we have canceled some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow due to the side effect of a technical problem we experienced yesterday.”
Friday’s outage follows the latest strike by Heathrow security staff belonging to the Unite union. Friday is the second of three consecutive days of performance for the squad. Heathrow has insisted that the action, which it described as unnecessary, had no effect on airport operations, which it described as smooth.
Like many other European airline groups, IAG has been anticipating levels of summer travel equal to or higher than those seen in 2019 before the pandemic decimated demand for air travel. The group raised its full-year earnings forecast on May 5 in response to resurgent travel demand as well as falling fuel costs.
BA did not give any indication of when it expected operations to resume after the two-day outage.