Lessons Learned From The Recent British Airways Outage

Naveen  Chhabra

Like many others, we are trying to wrap our heads around the recent British Airways outage, an event so far-reaching and arguably avoidable that it’s difficult to believe such a thing can happen — yet it did. While our aim is not to criticize BA, this event provides some good lessons for everyone. It’s a reminder that bad things can happen, even to a good organization. You need to be aware of the risks to your own technology and business and defend against them before they harm your business and your customers.

As a rough estimate, BA will suffer direct losses of US$20 million to $25 million (75,000 passengers at an average revenue per passenger of about $300).[i] Three days of missed bookings amount to a potential additional $105 million loss, to say nothing of the reputational damage and other indirect losses. It might take the airline a few quarters to recover fully. Public memory is short, and the beleaguered traveler is forgiving, but a three-day no-show is extreme. BA execs will get to the root-cause analysis soon, but the event (and historical failures at airlines in general) provides a bonanza of lessons for execs everywhere who want to better equip their organizations to handle such exigencies.

Here’s what you should do:

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