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British Airways chaos at London Heathrow as cancelled and delayed flights affect 10,000 passengers

Simon Calder

On one of the busiest days of the summer, British Airways cancelled dozens of flights to and from Heathrow, affecting at least 7,000 passengers

Problems began for BA when the control tower was closed for around 35 minutes on Wednesday afternoon when a fire alarm was triggered. Landings and take-offs were stopped.

Then an IT issue emerged which caused further disruption for BA and other airlines. Hundreds of flights were delayed, and some evening outbound departures were cancelled. Around 3,000 British Airways passengers were stranded overnight abroad.

On Thursday, British Airways cancelled 31 inbound flights to Heathrow. In addition, 11 outbound BA flights were grounded as a result of the disruption.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “The vast majority of customers affected by the supplier system issue and the temporary closure of Heathrow airport’s air traffic control tower are now on route to their destinations.

“The supplier, Amadeus, resolved their system issue last night, and our schedule is now operating as normal.

“We have apologised to our customers for disruption to their travel plans.”

Passengers whose flights were seriously delayed or cancelled by the IT problem should be able to claim between €250 and €600 in compensation under European passengers’ rights rules.

In May 2017, BA suffered a massive computer system failure caused by a power supply issue. Tens of thousands of travellers had their journeys disrupted over a busy bank holiday weekend.

Passengers on Ryanair face problems on Friday as well as next Wednesday and Thursday as a result of strikes by pilots and cabin crew.