Outrage over IAG Cargo information outage
THOUSANDS of airfreight customers of IT-afflicted IAG Cargo remain in the dark about the status of their valuable shipments following the power-failure meltdown of British Airways’ outsourced core computer system.
IAG Cargo remains tight-lipped about how the British Airways (BA) computer system failure has affected freight customers.
Hundreds of cargo containers have been stranded across the world – at the wrong places and at the wrong times – as the carrier’s global network business, spanning 170 airports in 70 countries, catastrophically failed.
High cost, time- and temperature-sensitive pharma and healthcare shipments failed to meet their critical delivery schedules – running the risk of perishing in transit – as customers seeking information on the progress of their goods were given little or no information.
A lame and non-specific statement remains the only message made available to customers in a press release posted on the IAG Cargo website.
The IT outage also affected 75,000 passengers across 170 airports in 70 countries on Saturday.
BA chief executive Alex Cruz, who says he has no intention of resigning over the failure, describes the mass outage as a temporary ‘power surge’ but admits a back-up system did not operate properly.
Mick Rix, national officer for aviation at GMB union, which represents some of BA’s staff members, suggests the failure is linked to IT staff being made redundant and their work being outsourced to India in 2016.
“This could have been avoided,” he asserts in a statement.
“BA in 2016, made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA has made substantial profits for a number of years, and many viewed the company’s actions as just plain greedy.”
Cruz unequivocally refutes this claim.
“.. IAG Cargo are unable to accept any [cargo] deliveries at Heathrow, except for premium shipments up to 50kg ..”
IAG Cargo – the freight arm of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling Airlines – currently presents only a brief two-day-old corporate statement on its website, which explains the company is continuing work on restoring all of the IT systems, and that further disruptions are expected. “We are aiming to operate the majority of services from Heathrow and a near-normal schedule at Gatwick,” it reveals.
“We are unable to accept any [cargo] deliveries at Heathrow, except for premium shipments up to 50kg and we are not accepting new bookings for flights departing either on Sunday or Monday. Collection of freight continues to be welcomed.”
The cargo division claims it has been keeping its customers adequately updated with information, although with a failed core IT connection, it is hard to know how this information was collected.
On Monday, aircargoeye.com asked IAG Cargo to detail just how the mass outage had affected their cargo services and the financial impact on the business.
The cargo division failed to answer our questions and instead lamely issued only this statement: “With our IT systems returning to full operational capacity, we are firmly focused on getting our customers’ cargo to where it needs to be.
“Today [Monday], we are planning to run a full long-haul schedule, as well as, a high proportion of our short-haul programme.
“With the strong progress made in restoring a full programme of flights we are now able to take new bookings from today.”
The statement also reveals that customers have been able to collect freight from Heathrow throughout the weekend, with deliveries being accepted from Sunday evening.
“During Saturday’s IT outage we were unable to move customers’ bookings as planned. With the reopening of flights on Sunday and today [Monday] we have worked with customers to move as much freight as possible on our aircraft. We initially opened flights for smaller bookings – under 50kg – on Sunday before reopening almost all flights on Monday as our services returned to normal.
“We sincerely apologise to our customers for any disruption caused and thank them for their understanding as we return to normal operations.”