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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter.

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

British Airways worldwide computer meltdown.. 11 URGENT QUESTIONS FOR THE IAG BOARD. Lack of any meaningful communication by BA management angers stranded passengers



Only a few of these flying today.... computer says 'NO'

These are the 11 urgent questions that need to be put, and fully answered, to an emergency Board Meeting of the Anglo-Spanish FTSE 100-listed International Consolidated Airlines Group [IAG] (owners of the British Airways brand), by stakeholders, shareholders and BA customers:

1. Why did the non - British born CEO of BA,  wait for some six hours before even issuing a bland video holding statement via the BA Twitter account, and repeatedly refuse media requests for clarification interviews? And is he way out of his depth, considering his previous employment record...

2. What happened to the airlines public relations department, do they not have individual  iphones? Were they gagged?

3. Why did Willie Walsh not PERSONALLY step in within the hour, to offer clear leadership, compensation and clarity?

4. Did anyone try turning the computer main switch on and off and check the fuse box?

5. Is the fact that much of the BA computing operation ( says GMB Union) has been shipped out to India, a factor? (It's well known that at the start of Ramadan, people who strictly observe daytime fasting,  tend to be 'somewhat grumpy' and 'not operating at their full capacity' in the early days of Ramadan...)

6. At which point, are check-in staff authorised to hand out bottles of water to thirsty, distressed over-heated passengers? And who physically gives that authorisation?

7. How is it possible in the 21st Century that the UK/Spanish owned airline branded British Airways, did not have immediate access to a back up disaster recovery system, (such as that operated by Fujitsu Systems and others) which should have clicked in and taken over the core function of the 'downed' BA computer within minutes?

8. How much of the current BA computer system is shared with other IAG brands, such as Iberia and Veuling, and if it is, why have they not been affected?


Is this still the legacy computer core of the BA computing system?


9. How much of the current BA computer system is an old legacy computer running software with lines of code, some probably written in the early 1960s' ?

10. How much of the BA centred computing system in percentage terms, is simply a 'smart front end' bolted onto a very old legacy computer core system?

I1.  It has been suggested during the Saturday night/Sunday morning Stephen Nolan Show on BBC5Live that the airline check in staff have no access to the Airport operators digital messaging and not authorised to use the airports  'Tannoy' audio services. Why?

Julian Bray Aviation Expert comments: The Anglo/Spanish owned British Airways has cancelled all flights scheduled to leave on Saturday from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, after what they claim is a global IT systems meltdown, stretching credibility by citing power management and outage issues.

On Sunday morning BA advised frustrated Saturday travellers, who had not already rebooked, not to travel to the airport, as there would be no seats for them.

BA now advises passengers to first check with www.BA.com. The airline claims to be 'working towards a normal schedule' forgetting the small matter of the many thousands, who have been bumped off flights, or just told to stay away.    

Clearly nothing to do with the fact that the British Airways brand had outsourced much of their computer day-to-day operation to India, in the process issuing P45 to many long serving highly experienced  computing staff in the UK.

Currently the airline is claiming the power outage causing cancellations and delays (legally could possibly be viewed as 'exceptional circumstances' and absolving the airline from liability) could extend into Sunday and beyond, but with any extended delay, both pilots and cabin staff will run out of available hours, and the airline will have to substitute rosters with other pilots and cabin crew who can still fly.

In addition the airline knows full well, it'll take many days to physically recover and return the aircraft, as they are by now all out of position, somewhere in the world, and it will involve many dead leg (ie flying empty) manoeuvres to re-position their fleet.

And some may ask where will they get the pilots from?

Simply many BA pilots will have no regulated flying hours left, the backlog is mounting. Baggage, cargo and special freight is all affected.  Much of it to European destinations could however be trucked by road and still arrive ahead of the 'scheduled' BA aircraft. 

Total meltdown on a major holiday weekend too. A PR nightmare, but seemingly little or no effort being made to publicly inform in real time of what is going on...

Apparently the computer outage has also affected the airlines basic will to communicate with many thousands of intending travellers, causing an inability to hand out water bottles and validate meal vouchers. The passengers pictured forming human snakelike queues  winding its way out of the passenger terminals at major airports.

Clearly the airline needs to rapidly bulk charter (wet lease?) passenger and cargo aircraft and crews from other airlines. It is going to be an expensive operation and someone's head needs to roll..

The airline brand is owned by the Anglo-Spanish FTSE 100-listed International Consolidated Airlines Group [IAG] . .... Sell in May and go away they say... so time to sell perhaps?

UPDATE Midnight Saturday: It is now becoming clear, this is far more than a simple power issue. BA websites, Apps., digital sign systems and operational aircraft loading, flight plans, and baggage computing systems have all suffered a catastrophic failure.

So far some 300,000  passengers have been caught up in this mess. many are now bedding down on hard airport terminal floors rather than being accommodated in Hotels as they are entitled to be. Perhaps if the intending passengers have not been physically and digitally checked in, they arte not liable for compensation?    


Hopefully, the firm will now feel it can fully communicate at an earlier stage with its customers, and change standing operational orders giving its ground staff ( or contractors ) greater authority to declare an incident in order that EC compensation and other refunds can be authorised.

More as we get it...

Update: https://julianbrayrecessionbuster07944217476.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/is-tata-consultancy-services-holding.html 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment   Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com  
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