Monday, October 23, 2017

British Airways ‘dreadful’ data centre outage costs airline £80m

More than 700 flights were cancelled after an incident at one of the company’s data centres close to Heathrow which left as many as 75,000 passengers stranded.

British Airways data centre collapse will cost the company “in the order of” £80m according to the CEO of the airline’s holding company International Airlines Group (IAG).

Speaking at the airline’s annual general meeting, IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh, said: “On May 27, British Airways suffered a power failure to its primary data centre, which led to severe disruption to its flights at the beginning of the UK half term school holiday.

“Our initial assessment of the gross cost of the disruption is in the order of £80m. We will update the market at the appropriate time with more details.”

The £80m bill falls short from initial estimates that suggested BA could face costs of up to $150m.

Addressing speculation around the cause of the incident, Walsh said the event had nothing to do with the company’s current outsourcing roadmap.

“This failure had absolutely nothing to do with changes to the way we resource our IT systems and services,” he said.

He added that the work done to bring back the systems online at the London data centre were “an outstanding achievement by the teams involved, given the nature and extent of the damage suffered”.

Walsh said the event delivered a “dreadful experience for many customers”, releaving that the total number of cancelled flights was 726, with some 75,000 passengers stranded.

In the wake of the incident, a group of data centre experts has set out their plans to launch the Data Centre Incident Reporting Network (DCIRN).

The DCIRN is being set up by the DCIG and aims to be a forum for the exchange of information between data centre operators around the world.

Simon Allen, Membership Secretary at the UK Data Centre Interest Group (DCIG), and one of the key responsible for the DCIRN, said: “The airline industry has an enviable record of continuously improving flight safety by industry-wide sharing of accident and potential accident information,” he said.

“However, the same is not the case in the data centre industry where it is common practice to cover up failures or potential disasters in a misguided attempt to protect reputations.

“Root cause investigation findings are normally secret and bound by NDA which has resulted in The Data Centre industry being at a disadvantage in learning from failures.”