Computer glitch causes Heathrow Terminal 5 woes

Business Materials 6 April 2008 00:50 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - London Heathrow's showpiece terminal 5, beset by baggage chaos since its opening last month, hit more problems on Saturday as a luggage software glitch forced British Airways to cancel seven flights.

Airport operator BAA, owned by Spain's Ferrovial, issued an apology to BA and its passengers as it tried to fix the problem with the baggage reconciliation system that matches passengers' luggage to their flight.

BA has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights from the state-of-the-art, 4.3 billion pound terminal since it opened on March 27, hitting the airline's share price and becoming a national embarrassment.

"We're now having to manually reconcile bags for each flight which takes considerably more time than using the automated system," BA said in a statement.

"This has led to flight delays and as a result we have had to make a number of short haul cancellations."

A BAA spokeswoman said specialist staff were working hard to resolve the problem and keep disruption to BA's operation to a minimum.

"While we know what the problem is and have a potential solution, we're having to carefully consider how and when to apply this, to avoid further problems," she said.

Tens of thousands of bags have gone missing, costing BA about 16 million pounds since the terminal's opening last month.