Baggage handling technology had not been tested sufficiently at Terminal 5, Colin Matthews BAA chief executive has told the Transport Select Committee at the House of Commons today. The BBC reports that Matthews was ‘unaware’ of the problems at Terminal 5.
The opening of Terminal 5 in March fell into diseray when baggage handling systems failed. Blame was banded about between Heathrow operator BAA and British Airways, the sole tenants of the new Terminal 5 building. Over 50 flights a day were cancelled.
Today Matthews revealed that as well as major technology problems within Terminal 5, the building opened without properly operating toilets, unfinished paintwork and problems with staff security.
The BBC reports that Matthews told the Select Committee that the baggage system had only been tested at full load 20 times and that “the testing regine did not adequately replicate the first days of operations.” He did defend the organisation by pointing out that the baggage system was now good.
Matthews also admitted to the Select Committee that no BAA investigation into who was responsible for the problems has been carried out.
According to the BBC, MPs on the Select Committee accussed Matthews of being “complacent” and that he had “made a fool out of this country”. Sir Nigel Rudd, non-executive chairman of BAA told the Select Committee that he wa disappointed and “nothing can take away that failure. We had all believed genuinely that it would be a great opening, which clearly it wasn’t” the BBC reports. Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive is due to give evidence.