British Airways cancels more flights from London Heathrow - ‘knock-on effect’ from IT glitch

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British Airways said Friday’s cancellations were related to technical problems that occurred on Thursday.

British Airways has cancelled more flights on Friday (May 26) following a technical glitch that saw at least 50 flights grounded the day before. According to the BBC, at least 42 more short-haul flights were cancelled due to the “knock-on effect” of a technical issue that resulted in staff being in the wrong location.

The report said around 16,000 passengers have been affected by flights being cancelled amid the busiest day for UK air travel since 2019 ahead of the half-term school holidays.

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Most of the cancellations are for European and domestic flights, but there have also been delays to other services, while some passengers have been unable to check in online.

On Thursday (May 25), British Airways apologised for cancelling dozens of flights at Heathrow. The airline said it was related to "technical problems" causing difficulties with online check-in.

In a statement on Friday, it 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.”

British Airways said those impacted have the choice of rebooking an alternate flight or requesting a refund. According to Simon Calder, the travel writer for The Independent, at least 156 flights—mostly domestic and international—have been cancelled.

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Cirium, a data company, reports that as of 8am, 83 British Airways flights, or roughly 8% of its scheduled Friday services, have been cancelled. Out of the 860 flights that were scheduled for Thursday, Cirium reported that British Airways cancelled 92 of them.

Only a very small percentage of departures from Heathrow were really impacted, a British Airways official told the BBC. With more than 3,000 flights scheduled, Cirium predicted that Friday would witness the greatest departures from UK airports since before the Covid outbreak.

British Airways (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)British Airways (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
British Airways (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images) | Bloomberg via Getty Images

This is partially attributable to families going on holidays over the half-term break. The problems began when Unite-affiliated Heathrow Airport security officers began a three-day protest over pay. However the airport said operations won’t be impacted.

Other IT issues have plagued the airline in recent years, such as a significant failure in 2017 that left 75,000 customers stranded during a holiday weekend. Customers were outraged by the occurrence, and the carrier promised to improve moving forward.

In February, days after flights were suspended due to Storm Eunice, passengers also experienced delays as a result of an IT problem.

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