British Airways investigates German software bug after flight chaos

British Airways – Frank Augstein

British Airways has launched an urgent investigation into pilot scheduling software provided by German carrier Lufthansa after a computer glitch left thousands of passengers stranded.

The airline has apologized after canceling dozens of flights to and from America, including 15 from Heathrow on Tuesday. He apologized to travelers who were left waiting for several hours in departure lounges five days before Christmas.

BA officials are scrambling to get to the bottom of the problem amid fears that the glitch could recur.

The airline uses Lufthansa’s LIDO system, a flight planning software that allows pilots to plot routes and navigate in adverse weather conditions.

LIDO is popular with a number of other airlines including the German flag carrier and BA sister airlines such as Iberia and Vueling as well as rival Virgin Atlantic. However, other airlines are not believed to have been similarly affected.

BA sources rejected claims that BA’s well-publicized cost-cutting measures were to blame.

BA said the computer issues were resolved shortly after 8am on Tuesday morning. But industry sources say the fallout from the crash will likely see disruption for much of the rest of the day.

More than 30 flights between North America and the Caribbean were canceled or disrupted overnight.

Around 15 departures from Heathrow have been cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers scrambling for alternative flights to see loved ones for Christmas.

BA is believed to have implemented a “workaround” to the LIDO system as it gets to the bottom of the problem.

The LIDO system was introduced around the time BA was merged with the Spanish airline Iberia in 2011.

An industry source said: “When it arrived, it replaced a number of BA’s legacy systems. This was around the time BA switched from paper-based flight planning output to iPad-based flight planning. It came with iPads

“It has to do with BA’s legacy systems and how they relate to LIDO. LIDO wasn’t working, but it wasn’t a LIDO problem, it was one of the connections.”

This is not the first glitch affecting BA in recent years.

In 2020, the company was fined £20m by the Information Commissioner’s Office over a 2018 data breach that saw the personal data of 400,000 of its customers accessed by hackers.

BA was also repeatedly rocked by systems outages that ground flights for hours on end.

The airline’s worst in recent memory occurred in May 2017, when a massive computer system failure left 75,000 customers stranded.

Then boss Alex Cruz promised that there would not be a repeat of the chaos just for similar problems to occur less than two years later.

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