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British Airways sues data centre supplier over 2017 mega-outage

BORK-PRONE AIRLINE British Airways (BA) has sued US outsourcing giant CBRE for the 2017 IT outage that left 75,000 passengers stranded.

The failure, which forced the airline to use a manual check-in process, saw 672 flights cancelled during a three-day Bank Holiday weekend, at an estimated cost of £58 million.

While BA’s inquiry into the outage hasn’t yet determined any root cause, a Mail on Sunday report claims the airline has appointed law firm Linklaters to bring a claim against CBRE – which managed data centres for BA at Heathrow – in London’s High Court.

When the downtime hit the airline 18 months ago, BA was quick to point the finger of blame in the direction of CBRE, which it claims shut down a power supply unit which had otherwise been working normally.

The power supply unit, called the Uninterruptible Power System, was reportedly designed and installed in the mid-1980s, and located at Boadicea House at Heathrow, the company’s main global data centre. 

According to reports, the data centre and its cooling systems have not been adequately maintained as the building has filled up with hardware, and anecdotal evidence from BA staff suggests that the ageing equipment suffered from overheating for some years; air conditioning equipment struggling to keep temperatures down and staff even resorting to hosing the roof of the building during particularly hot spells.  

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday earlier this year, BA chief executive Alex Cruz revealed that British Airways has invested in new data centres to avoid any repeats.

“That wasn’t a computer problem, it was a power problem,” he said. 

CBRE hasn’t had much to say about the failure, commenting vaguely: “We are the manager of the facility for our client BA and fully support its investigation.

“No determination has been made yet regarding the cause of this incident. Any speculation to the contrary is not founded in fact.”

BA confirmed the report, but said: “We aren’t able to discuss this until the legal particulars are filed.” µ

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Source : Inquirer

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