05 April 2008

British Airways in Heathrow T5 Chaos

It wasn’t very long ago I was writing about the new project completed at Heathrow airport. Terminal 5 has been completed and submitted on an opening ceremony attended by the Queen herself. Unfortunately, there has been a downhill ever since as. Last week British Airways was forced to cancel a staggering one-fifth of its flights, a consequence of the 2nd day chaotic opening. The staff was overwhelmed by complications from various sources, including system log-on problems for baggage handlers and delays at staff car parks. British Airways announced problems with baggage handling though didn't specify the exact nature of the problem and avoided to comment regarding the cancellations.

The £4.3 billion Terminal 5 failed to ease journeys and added on passengers’ frustration due to overcrowding. The carrier defended the argument of ``exhaustive'' customer trials of the building last month, with volunteers invited to play the part of travelers. Maybe it’s the volunteers’ fault, probably they came in short in scenario rehearsing and role-playing. Are they to take blame for more than 90 flights canceled so far?

The situation is very sensitive, on one hand Heathrow airport accommodated 68 million passengers last year and managed to handle them quite successfully with only 4 terminals - though striving with negative records for baggage handling already. The late part of Heathrow’s family was supposed to expand capacity by 30 million to 75 million.

I am still a bit dubious, was the project nothing more than wishful thinking? Or we are just being over-judgmental very early? Maybe passengers should hold back premature bitter comments. Their anticipation Terminal5 to operate smoothly is on ground basis, but isn’t it fair to it give some time? Isn’t a bit early for this huge project to solve an old problem in a fortnight?


Anonymous said...

How about the £4.3 billions that were spent on this project? How much would it take for a project to be fully operational from day 1?

Anonymous said...

If you ask me this would be the final straw for taking Heathrow and all the other airports from BBA. It seems that incompetence is the norm when it comes to public services.
It is also common to ignore mess-ups of such scale that would normally cost people their jobs.
So BBA and the government are both to blame for this sham.

Anonymous said...

Guys I am gutted as well, but I simply try to be a bit lenient. After all it is a huge project.. I don't know. Keep on reading and I will be keeping posted with latest news