British Airways says Heathrow flights hit by computer problems

A number of British Airways flights were canceled or being delayed by several hours at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. (Reuters)
Updated 19 July 2018
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British Airways says Heathrow flights hit by computer problems

LONDON: British Airways canceled and delayed flights at London’s Heathrow, Europe’s biggest airport, on Wednesday due to problems with a supplier’s IT systems, the airline said.
A number of British Airways flights were canceled or being delayed by several hours at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, according to the airport’s departure board.
“We are working with our supplier to resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to our customers’ travel plans,” British Airways said in a statement.
The carrier suffered a massive computer system failure in May 2017, caused by a power supply issue near Heathrow, which stranded 75,000 customers over a busy holiday weekend.
Its chief executive said at the time it would take steps to ensure such an incident never happened again.
Passengers at the airport on Wednesday described chaotic scenes as people tried to catch flights and complained there was a lack of information from the airline.
“Utter chaos at LHR, no communication, no emergency processes and no clue,” one passenger Dominic Hill said on Twitter.
A number of flights at the airport were earlier disrupted after a control tower was evacuated because of a fire alarm.


Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

Participants watch a movie highlighting the Red Sea project at last year’s Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

  • The Future Investment Initiative is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China
  • The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen

RIYADH: A major investment show in Saudi Arabia is expected to attract thousands of delegates and see deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars — despite several largely “symbolic” last-minute cancelations by speakers.

The Future Investment Initiative, which starts on Tuesday, is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China, despite several executives, mostly Western, pulling out after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Many of those Western firms have however sent lower-level representatives or regional heads — with big business likely to be done, Saudi officials said.

Speakers from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia-China Investment Fund and electronics giant Samsung are all billed to speak at the event. They join Saudi speakers including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and sports official Princess Reema bint Bandar. 

“Investing in transformation,” “technology as opportunity” and “advancing human potential” are among the FII’s themes. Held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, the three-day event is billed as a “blueprint for the 22nd century.”

Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” said many executives — notably those from Russia and further east — were still looking to do business at the event despite some having pulled out.

“I think the big pull-out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it is symbolic,” she told Arab News. “In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies.”

John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia, said he expected the event to be a success. 

“The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen,” he told Arab News.