Chaos as global IT failure takes out all British Airways flights out of London

British Airways has a problem. Its new IT system has completely crashed five times inside a year, and today it added a sixth global crash to the roster. All flights from Heathrow and Gatwick have been cancelled until at least 6pm in London tonight, affecting all BA flights globally. The airline is asking passengers not to come to the airports. The system failure also took out the BA website for two hours.

Travelers at airports serviced by BA are predictably flooding the company’s Twitter account with complaints.

The airline has said it has found no evidence of a cyberattack, despite some reports of BA staff telling passengers this. It’s highly unlikely to be a cyberattack at this point, but let’s keep our minds open.

At 1pm a British Airways spokesman said: “We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide. The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested and we have cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick before 6pm UK time today, so please do not come to the airports.”

The failure has affected BA flights around the world, with planes being grounded and passengers stuck either in terminal buildings or actually on planes, with passengers unable to disembark due to gate shortages.

The failure comes as thousands of Britons head abroad for the long weekend with half-term school holidays next week.