British Airways hoping to operate 'near-normal' schedule

British Airways flights out of Gatwick and Heathrow have been grounded as a result of a “major IT failure”.

Passengers should contact their airline about the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

In a reply to one disgruntled traveller on Twitter, the company wrote: "We're experiencing a global system outage".

"We are refunding or rebooking customers who suffered cancellations on to new services as quickly as possible", BA said, adding that it had introduced more flexible rebooking policies for passengers affected.

British Airways said it is working to restore services, but noted that some delays and disruptions may continue into Sunday.

"We hope to be able to operate some long-haul inbound flights tonight, which will land in London tomorrow", he said.

The problem was made more severe by the fact that the United Kingdom is on a public holiday weekend, combined with the start of the school half-term holidays in many parts of England, when many families travel for an early summer break.

The company said it was "extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers during this busy holiday period". Both airports - major hubs for worldwide travel - are overflowing with stranded, frustrated passengers. Passengers stand with their luggage outside Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow airport after flights were canceled due to the airport suffering an IT systems failure, Saturday, May 27, 2017.

This is a developing story.

BA is the latest airline to be hit by computer problems.

British Airways Country Manager, Kola Olayinka confirmed the development.

At first, the airline announced that it was canceling "all flights until 6.00 pm (1700 GMT) from Heathrow and Gatwick today", a spokesman told AFP.

Malcolm Ginsberg, editor in chief at Business Travel News, said: "This is a very, very serious situation, one that will not be solved overnight, even once they get the technology aspects of it done - it's going to be three or four days".

"We apologise for the current IT systems outage".

The snag reportedly affected all of the airlines' check-in and operational systems, including customer service phone lines and rebooking function.

Student Emily Wilson told the Press Association she had been advised "we are unable to get bags, and that no more flights are taking off", several hours after arriving at the airport for her flight to Stockholm.

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