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British Airways Suing CBRE Over $75M Data Center Failure

British Airways is suing CBRE over an incident that occurred in May 2017 when two BA data centers operated by CBRE failed, causing serious interruptions to the airline's business. The facilities are near Heathrow Airport, where BA is based.


The failure left about 75,000 BA passengers stranded on a holiday weekend when the airline canceled 672 flights. The airline's check-in system and customer service lines were also blacked out for three days.

The estimated cost of the failure to BA was £58M ($75M) and now the airline has hired law firm Linklaters to bring a claim against CBRE Managed Services in London's High Court, the Daily Mail reports. It isn't clear how much BA is seeking in damages.

Shortly after the incident, International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh said an engineer had switched off the data center's power supply by mistake. Then the power was turned back on, but in an uncontrolled way, the Financial Times reports. That account hasn't been verified yet. IAG is British Airline's parent company. 

There were other reports of a faulty UPS system — which is designed to prevent power interruptions — according to Data Center Dynamics. It was unclear how that failure would have cascaded into a wider failure.

Later, IGA reportedly undertook an inquiry into the incident, which also apparently involved the failure of the facilities' backup systems, but no results have been published. CBRE declined to comment on the suit, according to the Daily Mail.