On Thursday evening, British Airways experienced a catastrophic operational collapse after a second IT outage in less than a week prompted the carrier to postpone flights throughout the world as personnel hurried to check clients in on backup systems.
On the same day that Russian officials slapped restrictions on British airlines, preventing them from flying across Russian airspace or landing in the country, critical IT systems were shut down.
British Airways denied being the target of a cyberattack that prohibited customers from checking in online and hindered pilots from accessing critical safety systems including aircraft weight and balance calculations.
On its Twitter account, British Airways said it was “investigating and working hard to resolve a technical issue”. A spokesperson apologized for any inconvenience that had been caused.
From around 5 p.m. on Thursday evening, Down Detector, which tracks website issues, saw a sharp increase in customers reporting troubles with the British Airways website.
The British Airways website has been taken offline as a result of the problem. Systems have also been taken offline behind the scenes, although a British Airways representative claimed the carrier was able to transfer to backup systems.
On Sunday, the airline experienced a similar problem that lasted several hours before technicians were able to restore service.
In 2017, British Airways experienced a severe, days-long IT outage that stranded hundreds of thousands of customers after an outsourced IT contractor accidentally yanked the wrong plug at the airline’s data warehouse.
Only a year later, the airline disclosed that 380,000 passengers’ data had been stolen by hackers.
British Airways was hit with the highest data privacy fine in history, but after a lengthy appeals process, regulators decreased the fine due to the financial impact of the epidemic on the airline.