The catastrophic failure of British Airways’ IT systems caused by a power surge, over the bank holiday weekend, provides a stark reminder of the importance of testing mission critical backup systems and critical infrastructure. A spokesperson for the airline said that the “power supply issue” had been at one of its UK data centres and an “exceptional power surge” had caused physical damage to its infrastructure, leading to a catastrophic IT meltdown. It appears that the back-up system also failed.
The failure, on Saturday 27th May, resulted in the delay or cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving holiday makers stranded at London’s Heathrow Airport. British Airways could now face a bill of at least £100m in compensation, additional customer care and lost business. In addition, it is reported that the IT failure wiped £500m off the value of the International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways.
Last year, the US airline Delta said it lost $100m after the shutdown of power to its data centre because an equipment failure.