The image of British Airways was damaged by the systems failure which grounded an estimated 75,000 passengers last month, Willie Walsh, the head of its parent company, IAG, has admitted.
Mr Walsh, who was attending the summit of the aviation trade body, the International Air Transport Association in Cancun, voiced confidence that there would be no long-lasting harm.
“Clearly there are incidents that are damaging to our reputation from time to time. We recover from these, we work hard to recover,” he said.
“This is an industry that has to be competitive and provide services that our customers want. Where we don’t do that we suffer.
“We will continue to work to make sure that we satisfy our customers every day, every week, every month of the year,” he added.
“I am not going to deny this is damage to us. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But we have recovered from worse.”
Stranded passengers furious as BA apologises for IT chaos 01:48
Mr Walsh denied there had been a computer meltdown. “The facts as we know them are quite clear,” he said.
Power was disconnected to the servers, but that on its own was not the reason for the chaos which unfolded.
“What caused the damage was that power was restored in an uncontrolled uncommanded fashion. There was no IT breach, there was no data loss, there was no data corruption.”
Mr Walsh promised a full investigation of what went wrong, with the results of the probe, which would be reviewed independently, to be made public.
But the chaos on the day and BA’s handling of the aftermath has led to accusations that the underlying reason was a cost-cutting programme introduced by Alex Cruz, the new chief executive.
Stranded passengers at Heathrow after the British Airways systems crash
Last week Mr Walsh rode to the defence of Mr Cruz, saying he and his team had done a “great job” in its handling of the systems crash which experts believe could cost BA between £75m and £120m.
He also praised Mr Cruz’s decision to use YouTube and Twitter to communicate directly with passengers.
Some experts believe the problems which engulfed BA’s systems were a symptom of the aviation industry’s relentless hunt for economies.
However, Mr Walsh defended the continuing focus on savings and denied that this was leading to a decline in customer satisfaction.
“I don’t believe there is a correlation with businesses trying to improve their efficiency.
“Every industry looks at improving their efficiency. Any industry that doesn’t look for improvements will go out of business.”