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British Airways resumes flights after major computer outage

The airline scotched all flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday due to a "major IT system failure." By Sunday, most systems were up but the airline said to expect delays.

Travelers stranded at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 after British Airways canceled flights due to an IT systems failure.
Travelers stranded at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 after British Airways canceled flights due to an IT systems failure.
Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

A huge IT meltdown at British Airways caused the airline to cancel all flights out of London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday, during one of Britain's busiest holiday weekends.

"We are working hard to get our customers who were due to fly today onto the next available flights over the course of the rest of the weekend," the airline said in an update on its website Saturday afternoon local time, adding that people who can't get a flight will get a full refund.

The company didn't respond to a request for more information.

BA said in the update that the "major IT system failure" had also affected its call centers and website. The airline said some flight disruptions might continue into Sunday but that it expects most long-distance flights set to land in London tomorrow to arrive as scheduled.

The company told CBS News there was no evidence of a cyberattack.

On Sunday, BA said many of its IT systems were operational but warned that delays and some cancellations would continue. The airline said it's "running a near-full operation" at Gatwick, and at Heathrow aims to fly all long-haul services.

"I know this has been a horrible time for customers," said Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO of British Airways, in a statement Sunday. "[We are] pulling out all the stops to get our operation back up to normal as quickly as we possibly can. We're not there yet, but we are doing our very best to sort things out for you."

It's not the first time computer problems have caused hassles at BA. In July and September, issues with the airline's check-in systems caused global delays and long lines.

Other airlines have wrestled with network outages too. In August, Delta passengers were stranded after a power failure knocked out the company's computer systems. And in July, Southwest Airlines customers were forced to kill time after tech problems delayed flights.

First published May 27, 10:40 a.m. PT.
Update, May 28 at 8:10 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. PT: Adds comment from British Airways CEO Alex Cruz and a few more details about Sunday service.

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