Thousands of travellers have endured a second day of pandemonium at London Heathrow after British Airways (BA) cancelled at least 42 additional flights as a result of an IT failure.
BA stated that cancellations are still occurring due to the "knock-on effect of a technical issue" causing personnel to be in the incorrect location. Approximately 16 thousand passengers were affected by the cancellations. Since 2019, this is the busiest day for UK air travel.
The majority of affected flights originate or terminate at Heathrow. Other flights have also been delayed, and some passengers have been unable to check in online.
BA issued an apology on Thursday for cancelling scores of flights at Heathrow. The airline cited "technical problems" as the cause of online check-in difficulties and flight delays. While the overwhelming majority of our flights continue to operate today, some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow have been cancelled as a result of yesterday's technical issue, BA said in a statement on Friday.
BA added that affected passengers have been given the option to rebook an alternate flight or request a refund. Simon Calder, the travel correspondent for The Independent, estimates that at least 156 flights, primarily domestic and European, have been cancelled.
The aviation analytics company Cirium reported that more than 3,000 aircraft were scheduled to depart from UK airports on Friday, making it the day with the greatest departures from UK airports since before the Covid outbreak. This is due, in part, to the fact that families are taking advantage of the half-term break to go on vacation.
The problems began when members of the Unite union working as security guards at Heathrow Airport decided to go on strike for three days over pay difficulties. The airport has stated that normal operations would not be interrupted in any way. In recent years, BA has experienced numerous IT issues, including a significant breakdown in 2017 that stranded 75,000 passengers over a holiday weekend.
The incident prompted a consumer backlash, prompting the carrier to pledge to perform better in the future. In February, travellers experienced delays due to an IT problem, days after flights were cancelled as a result of Hurricane Eunice.
In the meanwhile, there has been an increase in the volume of traffic at Dover as passengers board ferries to travel across the Channel. The ferry operator DFDS said just before 8:30 BST that there was a wait of approximately one hour at the border control for travellers in vehicles, but that traffic for coaches was "free-flowing." The Port of Dover tweeted that there is currently no wait time for coaches and that there is less than an hour of wait time for vehicles.
During the busiest times of the year, Dover is plagued with traffic jams that last for miles and miles. During the days leading up to Easter, there were delays of up to 15 hours for some coach passengers waiting to board boats to France from the port in Kent. This week, the boss of Dover stated that the company had done "everything we can" to reduce travel delays during the next bank holiday and school half-term break.
Eurotunnel claimed that its services for vehicles travelling across the Channel were busy, but that departure times for trains were not affected.