Thousands of passengers were stranded at three London airports yesterday after an IT glitch paralysed British Airways’ operations.

The technical problem affected the airline’s online check-in and flight departure systems at Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City airports.

As a result of the IT malfunction, the UK’s flagship carrier cancelled or delayed hundreds of flights across the airports.

The BBC reported that Heathrow Airport (LHR), British Airways’ main hub, was most affected as almost 117 flights had to be cancelled.

Ten flights were also cancelled at Gatwick airport.

To control the situation amid peak summer travel season, the airline returned to manual systems for check-in across the three airports.

British Airways, which is owned by International Airlines Group (ICAGY), said it will allow passengers on cancelled flights to rebook for between 8 August and 13 August.

Apologising to passengers, the company said that the problem has been resolved but it will take time for operations to normalise.

An email statement from British Airways was quoted by CNET as saying: “We have resolved the temporary systems issue from this morning which affected a number of our flights today.

“Our flights are returning to normal, however there may be some knock-on operational disruption as a result of the issue earlier. We continue to advise customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport.”

The Telegraph reported that nearly 20,000 passengers could have been affected by the cancellations.

If all affected travellers file for compensation, the airline may have to pay out more than £8m.

In July, the airline faced a proposed monetary penalty of £183.4m for a customer data breach on its website and app, which was revealed by the airline in September last year.

In May 2017, British Airways faced a similar issue when an IT breakdown led to the cancellation of all flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick.