BA cancels Heathrow and Gatwick flights after global IT outage

British Airways (BA) has canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday, saying it is experiencing a "very severe disruption" to its IT system.

"This is a very serious problem, they should have been able to switch to an alternative system - surely British Airways should be able to do this", he said.

The airline said it was suffering a "major IT systems failure" around the world.

It said it had found "no evidence that it's a cyberattack", with Britain still recovering from a ransomware attack that crippled key infrastructure earlier this month.

BA said terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick became extremely congested and it was cancelling all flights from the airports.

All the affected passengers were corralled through a single gate so they could go back through border checks and then re-book flights.

Passengers trying to catch planes in Britain on Saturday reported long delays at check-in desks and flights being held on runways.

"We are extremely sorry for the huge inconvenience this is causing our customers and we understand how frustrating this must be, especially for families hoping to get away on holiday".

The disruption comes during a busy holiday weekend when thousands of Britons are travelling.

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"We've tried all of the self-check-in machines". "There was a huge queue for it and it later transpired that it didn't actually work, but you didn't discover that until you got to the front".

American Airlines, which operates code-share flights with BA, said it was unaffected.

A union official, meanwhile, blamed BA cost cutting for the travel chaos, saying the airline had laid off hundreds of IT staff previous year and outsourced the work to India.

"Manpower, dealing with the backlog of aircraft out of position, parking spaces for the aircraft -it's a challenge and a choreographic nightmare", he said.

Others reported they were unable to check in for their flights online.

"This could have all been avoided", Mick Rix, national officer for aviation at the GMB union, told the wire service.

In August a power surge near USA airline Delta's Atlanta headquarters caused computers to crash and led to widespread delays across Delta's entire network.

"We are refunding or rebooking customers who suffered cancellations on to new services as quickly as possible and have also introduced more flexible rebooking policies for anyone due to travel on Sunday and Monday who no longer wishes to fly to/from Heathrow or Gatwick".

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