Shares in British Airways' parent company tumble

Last weekend's woes were blamed by some observers on the cost-cutting policies of BA's corporate parent company, the IAG Group (which also includes Iberia), saying that the company had slashed staff and outsourced jobs in its IT department.

After a tumultuous day's trading, however, it clawed back to just 0.55% down.

British Airways cancelled all its flights out of major London airports Heathrow and Gatwick on after an IT systems failure, leaving hundreds stranded on a busy holiday weekend. "There are no redundancies or outsourcing taking place around this particular piece of hardware", Cruz told BBC news.

The British union GMB linked the IT problems directly to the company's decision to cut IT staff past year.

"Although cost cutting has been good for the share price in the a year ago, it will come back to bite IAG if it stops them from doing what they are supposed to do: Fly passengers to their destinations", Brooks said. The Independent reported the airline had agreed to meet all claims under European Union rules and had softened its stance on covering flights passengers booked on their own initiative to get to a destination.

He said: "On Saturday morning we did have a power surge".

Passenger data has not been compromised, Mr Cruz said, and the problem has not led to concerns about access to the terror watch list for flights.

The airline is now close to full operational capacity after the problems resulted in mass flight cancellations at Heathrow and Gatwick over the weekend.

No fewer than 400 passengers of a British Airways flight from Nigeria have been stranded in Lagos since Friday due to information technology (IT) problems the airline is experiencing.

Other passengers whose flights were disrupted will have the option to rebook for any time over the next six months.

"We know that there have been holidays interrupted and personal events that have been interrupted and people waiting in queues for a really long time".

Cruz said: 'We are absolutely committed to making sure we fulfil our obligations, particularly from a passenger compensation point of view'. In a statement, Cruz hinted the process to rebuild trust would be a long one: "Once the disruption is over, we will carry out an exhaustive investigation into what caused this incident, and take measures to ensure it never happens again".

BA has already confirmed it will compensate its customers fully, with payments expected to exceed $70m even before passengers' hotel costs are taken into account. Given that it is one of the largest airlines on the globe, that meant that thousands of passengers would miss out on their flights.

Gil Hecht, the CEO of Israel-based IT outage prevention firm Continuity Software, said airline IT was "amazingly complex", but carriers would typically deploy layers of protection, with duplicates of every component and server.

Around 75,000 passengers were affected as BA planes at Gatwick and Heathrow airports remained grounded from Saturday to Monday because of a "catastrophic" IT failure.

  • Jon Douglas