What BA said before the opening
“Will T5 open without a hiccup? Yes and yes.”
Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways in The Sunday Times last year
“We have done as much as we possibly can and we are ready. Our customers will absolutely love T5 and our people will love working there.”
Walsh, writing in British Airways News, March 20
“The terminal will be fantastic. I think it’s particularly pleasing that we’ll get an opportunity to do a better job at Heathrow when we move into Terminal 5.”
Walsh, the day before the terminal opened What BA said after the shambles
“I’m sorry for passengers, and I’m sorry for staff. If you want to blame someone, you should blame me.”
Walsh on Friday
Terminal 5 cost £4.3 billion and took more than ﬁ ve years to build. Designed to handle 30m passengers a year, it has a computerised baggage system capable of processing 12,000 cases an hour on 11 miles of conveyor belts travelling at up to 23mph. The terminal’s ﬁ ve ﬂ oors could accommodate 50 football pitches.
THE OPENING REALITY
The baggage system ground to a halt from overloading. Mountains of bags from transfer passengers are stuck in storage at other Heathrow terminals. More than 240 ﬂ ights were cancelled in the ﬁ rst three days, affecting 20,000 passengers. Thousands more have suffered delays.