British Airways settles legal claim with CBRE over May 2017 Bank Holiday datacentre outage


British Airways (BA) appears to have amicably concluded its legal action against US real estate consultancy CBRE, over the datacentre outage that grounded hundreds of flights during the 2017 May Bank Holiday weekend.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, news emerged in November 2018 that British Airways had appointed global law firm Linklaters to oversee a legal claim against the managed services arm of CBRE, which was known to be managing BA’s datacentres when the outage occurred.

At the time, it was claimed British Airways was intent on pursuing its claim against the firm through the London High Court, but it is unclear if it ever made it that far, with an airline spokesperson confirming the matter has now been resolved.  

“British Airways and CBRE are pleased to have reached agreement (with no admission as to liability) and continue to work together,” the statement read.

Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the non-admission of liability referenced in the statement from British Airways means any payment that has passed between the two parties should not be construed as an admission of wrong-doing or fault on either party’s behalf.

Computer Weekly contacted Linklaters for further comment on this story, but its press contact declined.

The outage is known to have been brought about by a power failure at one of the airline’s two West London datacentres, which resulted in British Airways flights being grounded at both Gatwick and Heathrow airports for two days, disrupting the travel plans of 750,000 of its customers.

Reports in the wake of the outage suggested the problems were down to a defective uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system within the affected facility, which failed to respond as expected when power to the site was lost for a short time.

This, in turn, caused the IT systems underpinning the airline’s check-in, baggage, ticketing and contact systems to fail, bringing its fleet of planes at Gatwick and Heathrow to a standstill.

In the months that followed, BA’s parent company – International Airlines Group (IAG) – confirmed the incident cost the firm around £58m in lost business and compensation claims.




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