Post by John Levine Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't help but wonder if this was a targetted virus attack of some sort.
I doubt it. History suggests this is what happens when cost cutters
keep asking why we need all those useless redundant systems and links
that just sit there doing nothing.
British Airways is facing losses of more than £150 million after the most
serious IT failure in UK aviation history.
The airline said that a power failure took down servers hosting the “Fly”
system, which controls everything from bookings to baggage-tracking and
passport checks. BA systems collapsed last year on June 19, July 7 and
again on July 13.
Critics blamed cost-cutting by the chief executive, Alex Cruz, and
outsourcing of IT roles to India. They also said statements yesterday that
most services had returned to normal were “dishonest”. Passengers described
conditions in Heathrow as “third-world” and many could not access
information by phone or online.
Howard Wheeldon, an aviation analyst, said that predictions of a £100
million bill for compensation and recovery costs could be an under-estimate
because of the “incalculable” loss of future business owing to damage to
BA’s reputation. “It isn’t only two days,” he said. “It’s the impact on
people’s confidence.” Other experts mooted near-term losses above £150
million once the airline had paid the statutory compensation of £225 to
£540 per passenger.
BA said that the problems had started with a power failure, not a
cyberattack. The Fly system, which was introduced last year is unpopular
with staff, who find it slows down under pressure. A union survey of 700
staff last summer found that more than 90 per cent believed it was unfit
for purpose. It was unclear yesterday why a power failure could knock out
the system, but sources indicated that BA did have back-up power supplies
that failed too.
Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, said: “I was disappointed when British
Airways claimed things were back to normal early Saturday morning. This was
simply an attempt to distract the media. In fact, Sunday was described as
‘far worse’ by airport staff I spoke to.”
A BA spokesman said: “We would never compromise the integrity and security
of our IT systems. IT services are now provided globally by a range of
suppliers and this is very common practice across all industries We are
extremely sorry for the disruption.”