No repeat of T5 baggage fiasco, says Walsh

British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, says he feels confident that tomorrow’s increase in flights at Heathrow Terminal 5 will not spark off another baggage fiasco.Speaking at the International Air Transport Association AGM in Istanbul, the BA boss said the baggage system that collapsed on its debut was now working better than its counterpart in Terminal 4.

“Terminal 5 is working well,” Walsh said. “We have had 3 million people go through it and the majority of them have had a good experience. The focus on Terminal 5 is completely misplaced.”

However he refused to rule out a trouble-free move. He said, “There are always risks in this industry. We have had baggage system failures in Terminal 4 in the past few weeks. There are issues at Heathrow every hour of every day.”

The building faces its biggest test since its disastrous launch on March 27. Tomorrow sees 30 more flights added to its schedule, with 7,000 more passengers and 4,000 more bags passing through the terminal.

BA’s New York service will switch to the new building alongside flights to eight other destinations, including Beijing, Cape Town and Cairo.

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The chief executive came close to losing his job when the chaotic launch of T5 forced the cancellation of 500 flights and led to the loss of 24,000 bags. The BA boss has since taken personal charge at the terminal after firing the two executives responsible for the opening.

BA will complete the transfer of the rest of its Heathrow services in two more stages, in August and October.
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