Problems continue at Terminal Five

Problems continue at Terminal Five

Glitches in luggage handling are yet to be corrected and flights are still being cancelled

Heathrow’s Terminal Five has failed to meet expectations again as more flights were cancelled and luggage services suspended as a result of the backlog on Thursday's opening day.

As a consequence, British Airways (BA) and airport operator BAA were advising passengers to check in at T5 with hand baggage only.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said that a "combination of factors" they had been unable to "get on top of" led to the problems.

"British Airways has not delivered and we need to deliver," he said.

The airline said it held staff meetings through the night and is following an action plan to try to relieve the problems. At least 36 flights have been cancelled.

Staff continue to blame the training that preceded the new terminal's opening.

"During the inadequate training days prior to the opening, any staff questions were bounced back with 'I don't know' and 'It will be clear on the day',” a baggage handler told the BBC.

A BA spokeswoman told Computing that it was difficult to respond to the critics, as they were made anonymously and could be related to individual challenges in the familiarisation process.

“It is a massive move to transfer operations from three terminals to one. So there is always the chance there will be issues associated to changing from one working situation to another,” she said.

BA also admitted that the training plan “may not have been perfect”. Further delays and cancellations are expected on Saturday.

In an interview published before T5 opened, BA told Computing that employees were involved during the entire development process of new systems at T5 to ensure the technology would not only be simple to use but would also increase productivity.

Training and familiarisation procedures were carried out for a year so that staff could test the new IT systems in place throughout the building.

“Delivering more than 200 IT projects was easy when compared to the people element of the plan,” BA’s programme head of information management for T5, Glenn Morgan, said at the time.

“Getting people to understand the new role of technology and buy into the new proposition was our biggest challenge,” he said.