London, United Kingdom. What was first thought to be cyber-terrorism, has now been labled an IT failure as Heathrow-Gatwick attempts to recover from a system failure, leaving thousands of people with nothing to do but wait. The problem comes on a bank holiday weekend, when tens of thousands of Britons and their families are traveling.
Airline British Airways said late Saturday that their aim is to have normal operation at Gatwick airport, and close to normal at Heathrow running on Sunday, after a day of chaos caused by a “very severe disruption” to the airport IT system.
All airlines had canceled flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday, the first day of a bank holiday weekend. The airline advised people to only come to the airports Sunday if they have a confirmed reservation, and warned there will still be disruptions.
The airline commented to News Front correspondent Suzzy De La Cruz it has no evidence the disruption is the result of a cyber attack.In a written press statement released Saturday night, it says that the airline will issue full refunds to passengers who choose not to travel because of the outage.
Many airlines operate hundreds of flights from the two London airports on a typical day, and both are major hubs for worldwide travel. Earlier, British Airways had canceled flights from the two airports until 6 p.m. local time. Heathrow airport said later Saturday that all flights were canceled for the rest of the day due to the “event.”
“We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” the company said in a statement. “The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested … so please do not come to the airports.”
Airlines depend on huge, overlapping and complex IT systems to do just about everything, from operating flights to handling ticketing, boarding, websites and mobile-phone apps. Some critics say complex airline technology systems have not always kept up with the times resulting in “events” such as this denial of service.
Heathrow said it was providing meal vouchers, water and snacks to passengers stranded at the airport. It advised passengers booked on flights scheduled to leave Sunday morning to check the status of their flight ahead of their scheduled departure time as chaos continued at the airports at the start of the summer europe tourist season.