The Stack Archive News Article

BA to sue CBRE over data centre outage ‘tragedy’

Tue 20 Nov 2018

British Airways is taking property specialist CBRE to court over last year’s data centre failure which cost the airline almost £60 million 

The outage plunged Gatwick and Heathrow’s busy bank holiday schedule into chaos when 672 flights had to be cancelled leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

According to the Mail on Sunday, BA is suing CBRE in London’s High Court, appointing leading London law firm Linklaters to bring the claim against CBRE Managed Services.

Embarrassingly for the UK airliner, not only did its backup system fail to cope, but reports indicated the Boadicea House power failure was caused by a UPS issue – even though UPSs are installed precisely to prevent power interruptions.

According to an internal email leaked to the Press Association last year, the UPS failure was triggered by an engineer inadvertently switching off the power supply and turning it back on improperly.

“This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries. This in turn meant that the controlled contingency migration to other facilities could not be applied. After a few minutes of this shutdown of power, it was turned back on in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion, which created physical damage to the system, and significantly exacerbated the problem,” said Bill Francis, head of group IT at BA’s owner International Airlines Group (IAG) in the email.

Although an official enquiry has taken place in private, BA has yet to publish any information about its findings.

At the time of the incident BA chief executive, Alex Cruz, denied claims from the GMB union that the meltdown occurred as a result of staff cuts and foreign IT outsourcing, describing the outage as a ‘tragedy’.

But evidently, BA now believes whatever the root cause, it has grounds to sue CBRE.

Neither BA or CBRE have commented on the Mail on Sunday’s claims.


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