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November 22, 2018

BA Prepare Legal Action Against CBRE Over May Bank Holiday IT Crash

This was caused by the improper reintroduction of power to the centres

By CBR Staff Writer

British Airways are planning a legal action against CBRE managed services claiming that the company was to blame for the 2017 IT failure that had a pronounced negative effect on BA.

In May 2017 British Airways experience an IT incident that caused the cancellation of 672 flights. BA’s passenger check-in and operating systems were also out of commission for three days during the outage.

Customers were left essentially in the dark for a period of time as BA’s customer service phone lines were also affected during the downtime. The timing of the crash could not have been worse as it occurred at the start of the May bank holiday weekend.

It is estimated that around 75,000 passengers were affected by the IT failure. While Willie Walsh chief executive of the International Airlines Group, which BA is a part of, has publicly estimate that the crash cost the airline £58 million.


CBRE manged BA’s datacentres at Heathrow airport and have denied that their company is responsible for the IT failure.

Mr Walsh has gone on the record speaking at a transportation conference in Mexico to state that the IT issues experience by BA over that Bank holiday weekend was caused by a CBRE technician who inadvertently turned off the power supplying one of BA’s datacentres.

However, this lack of power was not the erroneous mistake that caused the complete outage that BA experience. This was caused by the improper reintroduction of power to the centres. According to Mr Walsh the real issue occurred when the power was switched back on in an uncontrolled manner.

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In a speech reported by the FT Mr Walsh commented at a transport conference in Mexico that: “It’s very clear to me that you can make a mistake in disconnecting the power … It’s difficult for me to understand how to make a mistake in reconnecting the power.”

See Also: British Airways check-in hit by IT systems glitch

An internal email from within the IAG was leaked to press in June of 2017 which commented on the power loss that: “This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries… After a few minutes of this shutdown, it was turned back on in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion, which created physical damage to the systems and significantly exacerbated the problem.”

Computer Business Review contacted BA and CBRE in relation to this story, CBRE declined to comment, while a BA spokesperson said they were waiting for the legal particulars to be filed before issuing a statement.

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