Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BA Announces Heathrow T5 Long-Haul Flights Delayed

British Airways has delayed relocating the majority of its long-haul flights to London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 for two months, the airline announced today.

Since opening, Terminal 5 has suffered a number of problems, particularly those related to its hi-tech baggage system.

Speaking on the 11th April, British Airways’ Chief Executive Willie Walsh explained the delay in moving the airline’s long-haul services.

"It is only sensible to ensure that Terminal 5 is operating consistently at a high standard before the move begins”, he said.

Under previous plans, long haul BA flights, which are currently flown from Terminal 4, were scheduled to start operating from the new terminal on April 30th.

BA/ BAA Passenger Statement

In a combined statement, BA, along with Heathrow’s owner, airport operating group BAA, told passengers affected by the terminal move that contact would be made with them soon.

"While a normal flight schedule has been operated at Terminal 5 since Tuesday, we want to ensure that customers can be confident of high service standards when additional flights are introduced”, the statement said.

"We will work together to iron out any remaining problems, including the baggage system and its operation, and develop a robust timescale for phasing the move of Terminal 4 services into Terminal 5."

BA’s Walsh added that the move was one made "in the interests of customers".

"Though Terminal 5 is now working well, we need to have confidence that good service can be maintained when the terminal is handling larger numbers of customers", he said.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of the group, stated: "BAA fully recognises that the inauguration of Terminal Five has not been as smooth as we and BA would have wished."

He added: "BAA regrets this postponement and we recognise the impact it has on other airlines.”

Terminal 5 opened for business on the 27th March. In the immediate days thereafter, hundreds of flights were cancelled.

BA recently put the associated cost of the Terminal 5 chaos at £16 million and counting.

Referring to the decision to delay transferring long-haul flights over from Terminal 4, the GMB union’s Paul Kenny described it as a “sensible move” that “ time to make sure everything works smoothly."

Source – Airport International’s London Reporter

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