British Airways has confirmed it is delaying the move of its long-haul services to T5 until June.
The carrier had been due to move around 120 long-haul flights (60 departures and 60 arrivals) from Terminal 4 at the end of April, but the chaos that has surrounded baggage handling at the new T5 facility has led to BA delaying this move by at least a month.
Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive said: “We are making this decision in the interests of customers. Though Terminal Five is now working well, we need to have confidence that good service can be maintained when the terminal is handling larger numbers of customers.
“It is only sensible to ensure that Terminal 5 is operating consistently at a high standard before the move begins.”
Colin Matthews, BAA’s chief executive, said that it would be “working very closely with BA in the intervening period, as well as working with the other airlines to mitigate as much as possible the knock-on effects.”
There has been a scathing reaction from Bmi to the news, with CEO Nigel Turner calling the announcement “absolutely outrageous”.
“BAA and BA have shown a total disregard for all other airlines and their passengers at Heathrow in coming to this decision because of their own shortcomings and their inability to implement an agreed plan,” said Turner.
“BA through their mismanagement of the move to Terminal 5 will materially disadvantage all other airlines at Heathrow whilst BAA, through their perverse regulatory system, will actually benefit financially. The UK is once again a laughing stock.
“This is yet another clear example of BAA treating airlines and passengers with contempt and no consideration whatsoever to a consultation process that took some considerable time to achieve an acceptable programme of terminal moves.”
Report by Mark Caswell