British Airways Tech Outage Exposes Dangers of Outsourcing, Say Experts

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

After British Airways was hit with a technical problem, forcing it to shut down all of its flights at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports, unions are now blaming the fiasco on the company’s decision to outsource its IT department.

Following what became a customer service nightmare, British Airways is being hit with accusations by GBM, which is a union for airline employees, who say that the reason for the tech outage is due to its IT department being outsourced to India to save on labor costs.

“We can only feel genuinely sorry for the tens of thousands of passengers who are stranded at airports and face having their travel plans and holidays ruined,” GBM official Mick Rix said in a statement. “This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA have made substantial profits in for a number of years, and many viewed the company’s actions of being just plain greedy.”

British Airways’ decision to outsource their IT department to India cost roughly 800 jobs at the Heathrow International Airport, as well as at New Castle.

But, anti-outsourcing attorney Sara Blackwell told Breitbart Texas that this is not just an issue for British Airways, pointing to the multiple airline fiascos that have occurred within the last year in the U.S.

In 2016, Delta canceled more than 1,500 flights after a computer outage. At the time, Delta COO Gil West told Business Insider that the issue was due to a problem at the airline’s IT department.

“Monday morning a critical power control module at our Technology Command Center malfunctioned, causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power,” West said. “The universal power was stabilized and power was restored quickly.”

West, though, did not mention exactly where the Technology Command Center is located, something Blackwell says is a strategic move for airline companies to do in order to avoid questions about outsourcing.

“It’s [the CEOs] who are making these extreme national security decisions and Americans aren’t even allowed to ask if these shut downs are happening because of outsourcing,” Blackwell told Breitbart Texas.

Robert X. Cringley, a longtime technology journalist, wrote in 2016 that Delta Air Lines had once used IBM for IT work, a company that is known for its widespread use of outsourcing, but said he was unsure if the airline is continuing to outsource through IBM.

“Delta Airlines was an IBM outsourcing customer, it may still be today, I don’t know. The company hasn’t returned my call,” Cringley wrote at the time.

Tech giants like IBM remain silent on the amount of outsourcing they actually do, Blackwell said, as well as airline companies.

Earlier this year, Delta canceled another round of flights following technical problem within the IT department.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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