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Major IT woes hit Birmingham Airport as arrival and departure screens go black

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

Birmingham Airport's IT system is back in full operation after a major failure yesterday as it was coping with a string of cancelled flights due to Hurricane Ophelia

Arrival and departure screens went blank in a major IT failure at Birmingham Airport

All the airport screens showing arrivals and departures went blank at around 10am on Monday, leaving staff to provide flight announcements over the tannoy system and also flooding the departure lounge and booking floor with staff to provide vital travel information to passengers.

The breakdown also affected the airport's email system and its website, so passengers were unable to check flight information online. A message of the website's arrival and departures page blamed "a server connection error". And the airport's newly launched Twitter flight update service was affected too.

Engineers were able to get the terminal screens up and running by around 9pm on Monday night and airport website's arrivals and departures page was finally restored on Tuesday.

Wayne Smith, head of information technology at Birmingham Airports, said: “Some of the IT systems at the airport were interrupted for a period on Monday.

"All check-in and baggage systems were unaffected. The issue was caused by a software failure.

"IT staff worked late into the night to ensure the services were returned ready for the busy morning period the following day.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

An airport spokesman said staff had 'coped well' with the crisis, getting information direct from the control tower and then sharing it with travellers through Twitter and the airport PA system as well as liaising with partner organisations such as the airlines. "It was a Monday, and reasonably quiet, so we were able to get a lot of people down into the terminal so they could provide passengers with the information they needed. ."

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Speaking during the crisis on Monday, a spokesman said: "Some of our IT systems have been impacted today which has resulted in the loss of flight information display screens.

"The airport is working hard to fix this issue however in the meantime a large team of staff have been deployed in to the terminal assisting passengers.

"Additionally announcements are being made for each flight. We hope to have the systems up and running soon. Our priory remains to provide the best customer service to our passengers."

But during the hours the system was down, there was little that could be done to soothe some frustrated travellers

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Angela Sasso, from Herefordshire, tweeted: "NO working info screens ANYWHERE, broken escalators, broken boarding gates, backed up security gates."

Others tweeted their airlines, desperate for information on whether flights to and from Ireland had been cancelled.

On top of the IT failure, airport staff were trying to keep track of between 15 and 20 of flight cancellations from Flybe, Ryanair, easyJet and Aer Lingus due to Hurricane Ophelia wreaking havoc as it swept across Ireland and headed for the western coasts of Scotland, northern England and Wales.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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