The chief executive of British Airways parent IAG has defended the UK flag carrier’s communication to passengers during the recent major disruption that followed a power supply failure, suggesting “traditional media” had incorrectly reported the steps it took.

“I don’t see it as a failure of communication,” Willie Walsh said at the IATA AGM in Cancun today. “The suggestion that there was no communication is untrue.”

Walsh says the challenges faced by the carrier during huge disruption to its schedule on 27 May and subsequent days were compounded by communication systems going down alongside BA’s wider IT network.

Walsh states, however, that “it would appear that the traditional media do not like social media” because the carrier was given no credit for its use of platforms such as Twitter and Youtube to communicate with passengers.

“Alex [Cruz] was out issuing messages on Twitter, he was on Youtube. This was on the day,” Walsh says of BA's chief executive.

“I wouldn’t for one minute suggest we got communication right, but we will learn from that,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Walsh was keen to stress that the incident was caused by a failure of power supply “not a failure of IT” as he clarified IAG’s understanding of the chain of events.

“There was a technician, an electrical engineer, in the uninterruptable power supply switchroom at the time the power was disconnected to one of our data centres,” Walsh says.

Multiple power sources were functioning as intended, he adds, but supply to the UPS was disconnected, causing the immediate shutdown of the data centre.

“That in itself would have been a problem which we could have overcome probably in a couple of hours,” Walsh suggests, adding that it would have been unlikely to cause any cancellations.

“What caused the damage was that the power was restored in an uncontrolled fashion and that caused physical damage to servers, power units, distribution panels,” he says.

IAG has commissioned an independent company to conduct a full investigation, Walsh states.

Source: Cirium Dashboard