Willie Walsh, the chief of BA owners IAG, has given his full backing to the airline’s boss Alex Cruz after 75,000 passengers were left stranded over bank holiday weekend.
An IT failure caused by a power surge could be set to cost BA as much as £100 million in compensation claims from disgruntled travellers, but Walsh said Cruz did “everything possible” in the crisis.
He apologised for the disruption caused to passengers who were stranded on Saturday.
“I’m pleased that British Airways has been able to recover from the significant disruption that they faced on Saturday,” he told reporters.
“I think the team at British Airways, under the leadership of Alex Cruz, has done everything possible to get British Airways back flying a full schedule as quickly as possible. We clearly apologise to any of our customers who were disrupted.”
He confirmed that the issue was caused by an electrical power failure and said an investigation into the matter “will take some time”.
The BA board is reportedly set to demand an independent inquiry into the IT shutdown after back-up systems also failed and the National Grid and local energy providers said there had been no supply issues on Saturday.
The carrier was unable to resume a full schedule until Tuesday and many passengers who had already checked in when the issue emerged are still waiting to be reunited with their luggage.
Cruz denied GMB’s claims that the issue may be linked to BA cutting hundreds of IT jobs and contracting the work to India last year.
IAG saw shares initially fall by around 4% in the first day of trading in London after the outage occurred.