Dozens of flights to and from Heathrow have been affected
Thousands of people travelling through Heathrow have been stranded by British Airways who suddenly cancelled dozens of flights because of technical problems.
A fire alarm left the air traffic control control tower at Heathrow closed for 35 minutes on Wednesday afternoon. This was followed by an IT problem – described as a “supplier system issue” by BA – that also affected other airlines flying from terminal 5.
Hundreds of flights were delayed and it is thought that 3,000 travellers were stranded abroad overnight.
31 inbound and 11 outbound flights were cancelled today. A flight from Oslo is expected to arrive this evening – 20 hours late.
One person at Heathrow told Sky News: “They just said to me ‘stay in the queue’. It’s not terribly helpful. It’s complete chaos.”
Another said: “We’re really not getting any information at the moment. Nobody’s being sorted out. They can’t re-book the flights because they’ve got no computer system. Everyone’s just sitting here.”
The airline tweeted: “We are experiencing disruption to our flights as a result of an issue with some of our IT systems.
“We are working hard to urgently resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to some customers’ travel plans.”
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Our flights are operating today, however we expect some knock-on disruption from yesterday’s combination of a temporary closure of Heathrow Airport’s air traffic control tower and a supplier system issue which affected a number of airlines.
“We are doing all we can to keep disruption to our services to a minimum, and are sorry for the disruption to our customers’ travel plans.”
In May last year BA had to cancel hundreds of flights because of a technical issue, affecting 75,000 passengers. The problem was caused by a power failure.