BA board set to demand external probe into bank holiday IT collapse

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The board of British Airways is reportedly set to demand an independent inquiry into the IT shutdown that left 75,000 passengers stranded.

Experts predict BA is facing a huge compensation bill after the fiasco over the bank holiday weekend, which is believed could cost it as much as £100 million.

The airline blamed the IT failure on a power surge following an outage, which it said caused physical damage to servers at its data centre, Boadicea House, near Heathrow.

But mystery surrounds the cause of the power surge, with National Grid and local energy providers saying there had been no supply issues on Saturday.

BA's board is now pushing for an investigation by professional outside experts into what happened and why back-up systems also failed, according to the BBC.

It is also understood that BA's response to the crisis would come under the scope of the investigation.

Around 75,000 passengers faced disruption as flights were cancelled following the incident on Saturday morning.

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.

BA was accused of greed after the GMB union suggested the issue could have been prevented if the airline had not cut "hundreds of dedicated and loyal" IT staff and contracted the work to India last year.

BA chief executive Alex Cruz said the outsourcing of jobs was not to blame for the "catastrophic" power failure.

The cause of the initial power outage and the subsequent surge has not yet been revealed.

A spokesman for National Grid said it had "no system issues on Saturday morning" and energy provider SSE, which runs the network in west London, said its systems were also "operating as normal" on Saturday.

BA said: "We are undertaking an exhaustive investigation to find out the exact circumstances and most importantly ensure that this can never happen again."

But it declined to comment on boardroom plans for an independent inquiry.

BA owner IAG saw shares initially fall by around 4% in the first day of trading in London after the outage occurred.

On Saturday night, travellers spent the night sleeping on yoga mats spread on terminal floors after BA cancelled all flights leaving Heathrow and Gatwick.