British Airways (BA) Chief Alex Cruz instructed workers not to make statements to the media following a computer meltdown that has caused travel chaos.

The worldwide IT crash has seen BA flights cancelled and delayed, which could make the airline liable to a payout of nearly £150m ($172m).

CEO Cruz has faced wide criticism over his handling of the situation, with alleged reports he outsourced 700 IT jobs to Indian firm Tata Consultancy Services.

Last year he closed BA's UK computer department, which came at the expense of 700 jobs.

In an email to staff, he ordered them to be in "let's fix it mode", rather than speaking out about what happened to media companies.

"Guys, either you are part of the team working to fix this or you aren't," said Cruz.

"We are not in the mode of 'debriefing on what happened' but rather 'let's fix this mode'."

He published a video statement addressing the problem, insisting that many of the company's IT systems were back online and that work was underway to restore their flight programme to normal.

Cruz continued: "I have been answering some emails from colleagues (thank you for the support) and I just finished a video for media and another for all of us.

"If you do not want to get involved or cannot get involved, I would kindly ask you to refrain from live commentary, unless it is a message of support to the thousands of colleagues that love BA as much as you do."

One Twitter user called the email "an appalling example of arrogant bullying management style". However, a BA spokesperson has denied the email was a means of hushing staff and instead claimed it was sent to encourage them to volunteer to fix the ongoing problems.

BA admit that the priority was finding a solution to help their customers as opposed to commenting on the crisis.

"There was no intention to silence people. While we welcome open discussion our focus now is to help our customers and get our operation back to normal."

Affected customers have the right to claim up to £200 per day for accommodation, £50 for transport from the hotel and the airport, and £25 per person for meals.