back to article British Airways flights grounded due to glitch in flight planning app

British Airways flights have been grounded into Tuesday morning due to issues with flight planning software that caused aircraft to be held on the tarmac instead of being able to take off as scheduled. Airport X-ray CT scanning tech could put an end to 100ml liquid limit on flights by 2024 READ MORE According to reports, …

  1. andy 103
    Mushroom

    Suitably vague... cough... outsourcing

    "the problem stemmed from software that BA pilots access via Apple iPads, and said the system was in the process of being upgraded, citing "people familiar with the matter" who asked not to be identified."

    Interestingly BA seem to have had significantly more of these problems since they outsourced a lot of their IT operations to the lowest bidder. This isn't about "people over there" or anything derogatory though, oh no. Conversely, it's about people over here making stupid decisions that lead to these problems.

    Whenever it happens they put out a suitably vague press release which doesn't fully describe the problem. "people familiar with the matter" is a codeword for saying "we don't really understand what the fuck has happened ourselves". The real, underlying cause is outsourced, cost cut, poor IT development that pleases bean counters but alienates the dwindling number of people who are still stupid/desparate enough to use BA as an airline.

    I really, really hope this airline goes under ASAP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suitably vague... cough... outsourcing

      since they outsourced a lot of their IT operations to the lowest bidder.

      The pilot management system is run by Lufthansa. LH can't get your luggage to the right place, why anyone would expect them to do better with pilots is a mystery.

  2. Melanie Winiger

    Strange time to do an upgrade

    Isn't it Xmas Freeze time due to peak passenger volumes?

    FYI:

    BA Flight plans used to be done in-house decades ago on a system called SWORD. I worked with some of the guys - very professional.

    1. John Riddoch

      Re: Strange time to do an upgrade

      I've mainly worked in banking and yeah, December changes tended to be verboten for obvious reasons - no-one wants the headlines "Xmas shoppers with $BANK unable to make purchases". That said, provided someone could shout loud enough and make a good enough case, changes did occasionally get through although it generally needed an extra sign off from a relevant manager. Wouldn't surprise me if the same happens at BA, especially if someone's bonus depended on project completion by a certain date, or the project team was due to disband at the end of the year and no-one was willing to sign off the extension.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      If it is a typical IT upgrade project from my experience

      Then the upgrade was originally planned for a slower period earlier in the year, but some business unit that was going to do their own maintenance/changes during that time managed to delay it, and it has been delayed and delayed for various reasons until it entered the "it really has to be done now or everything will fall apart during holiday travel volumes" period and here you are.

  3. theAltoid

    Failsafe

    So... a critical piece of infrastructure went down, halting operations worldwide, and there was no failsafe? No backup plan, no alternative to having thousand of people sitting on the tarmac in cramped seats. Lovely.

    Over to you, Sean Doyle, CEO and Chairman:

    "...This is why we want to make every trip you take with us a great experience. Our entire team is here to provide exceptional service – from our signature warm welcome to ensuring that you arrive at your destination safely.

    Nice, but arriving safely is a pretty low bar for a mission statement.

    https://www.britishairways.com/en-nl/information/about-ba?source=BOT_about_ba

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Failsafe

      I think planes unable to take off is about as failsafe as you can get in that industry.

      I'd much prefer that than planes being able to take off but not able to land (in a controlled manner)

      1. Mishak Silver badge

        Re: Failsafe

        Or not having the correct fuel load, centre of gravity information, and whatever else they manage through that system!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Failsafe

      One of the required tasks is to transmit the APR information once final passenger details are known (i.e. not until after the doors close). A manual backup of phoning through the personal details of everyone on international flights would be a security nightmare and take hours per flight. Much better to just wait a few hours for the system to be available again.

      Given the considerable complexity in putting people in an aluminium (or carbon fibre these days) tube and hurling it through the air at 550kts, then hoping to hit a 20m wide strip of land 5500 miles away then you are very lucky that the skills and procedures of the industry mean your biggest concern is your cramped seat and late arrival.

      We have a saying in the industry - its always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Trollface

    <Nelson>Ha ha!</Nelson>

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Yeah, I stopped flying when they started going really overboard on the security theatre.

      I drive everywhere now, in a big 'ol '70s American car. So much for carbon footprint and pollution!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oops, dropped my packet of sauce

        Traveling for the thanksgiving holidays we ate our meals huddled in the car in restaurant parking lots. Somehow that seemed to duplicate one 'fun' part of airline travel, while avoiding much of the rest of the unpleasantness.

        (Desperately avoiding Covid/flu/rsv due to the medically vulnerable at destination)

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Maybe they used the wrong cable

    I don't know what this fiber thing is supposed to do that Aer Lingus used, but thought you used a fibre one for comms links.

  6. DaemonProcess

    Hurley burly

    I saw Elizabeth Hurley tweeted at BA saying she was stuck in Antigua for 20 hours. I was about to say lucky for some but she said nobody had been given food or water or access to a hotel.

  7. T 7

    Sounds like Technical Issues Throw Spanner Unto Plane

  8. Lil Endian Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A Refreshing Change

    A company not putting things in the clouds that should be there.

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