British Airways cancelled more than 140 flights on the busiest leisure travel days of the year as it grappled to resolve a computer problem that also affected some passengers’ ability to check in remotely.
A person familiar with the airline’s operations said 23 departures from Heathrow were cancelled on Friday morning, leading to the scrapping of 46 round-trip flights. Another 20 arrivals at Heathrow were cancelled because outbound flights on Thursday had not been operated.
A total of 80 flights were cancelled on Thursday. The airline’s website asked passengers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. “We’re aware of a technical issue, which we have been working hard to fix,” the website said.
British Airways said it had apologised to passengers whose flights had been affected and offered them the option to rebook an alternative flight with BA or another carrier, or seek a refund. The airline normally operates about 850 flights daily.
The carrier, part of International Airlines Group, indicated 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 expected to depart late.
BA said: “While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate today, we have cancelled some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow due to the knock-on effect of a technical issue that we experienced yesterday.”
Friday’s disruption comes on top of the latest strike action by some Heathrow security staff belonging to the Unite trade union. Friday is the second of three consecutive days of action by the staff. Heathrow has insisted the action, which it attacked as unnecessary, had no effect on the airport’s operations, which it described as smooth.
Like many other European airline groups, IAG has been anticipating summer travel levels at or above those seen in 2019 before the pandemic decimated air travel demand. The group raised its full-year profit forecast on May 5 in response to the resurgence in demand for travel as well as a drop in fuel costs
BA gave no indication of when it expected operations to return to normal following the disruption over the two days.