Denver-bound British Airways flight among those grounded amid software issues

Anurag Kotoky and Siddharth Philip, Bloomberg

British Airways services suffered hours-long delays after a failure involving flight-planning software led aircraft to be held on the ground, including one headed for Denver.

Only around 50% of British Airways flights were in the air in the early morning Tuesday compared with a week earlier, aircraft-tracking website Flightradar24 said. The airline confirmed that it had suffered a “technical issue” with its flight-planning system which was later resolved.

An inbound British Airways flight to Denver International Airport was canceled, but a departure flight to London was on time.

The problem stemmed from a failure of software that BA pilots access via Apple Inc. iPads, people familiar with the matter said. That system was in the process of being upgraded, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal concerns.

“Our teams have now resolved a temporary issue that affected some of our long-haul flight planning systems overnight, which resulted in delays to our schedule,” British Airways said in an emailed statement. “We’re sorry for the disruption caused to our customers’ travel plans.”

Passengers complained of the upheaval, with some saying on Twitter that operations appeared to have been disrupted for hours.

British Airways, a unit of IAG SA, which also controls Iberia of Spain and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, said there was no safety issue. Short-haul flights and long-haul services that had already departed weren’t affected.

The glitch is the latest in a series of software or hardware-based failures to afflict airlines and adds to challenges for BA that include staff shortages and a looming strike by Border Force officials at its London Heathrow base, just as the company enters one of the most intense travel periods of the year.


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