BA chief Willie Walsh apologises for Terminal 5 disruption

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh has made a public apology after the chaotic opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 yesterday.

In a frank statement, the BA boss admitted the airline had not delivered a good enough performance for its customers.

In total 33 flights had to be cancelled yesterday and a further 39 today with customers waiting up to four hours at baggage reclaim in the new £4.3 billion terminal following a catalogue of teething troubles.

Walsh said: “Yesterday was definitely not British Airways’ finest hour. We disappointed many people and I apologise sincerely. I take responsibility for what happened. The buck stops with me.

“A number of issues led to the events we saw yesterday. There were problems in the car parks, airport areas, computer glitches and the baggage system. In isolation, they would not have had the impact they did, but in combination they led to a level of disruption we never took control of during the day.

“I am not pointing the finger at BAA. Both British Airways and BAA made mistakes, but I am taking responsibility for the mistakes we made.

“Our performance was not good enough. We did not deliver for our customers and we should have.”

Walsh added that he expected there to be some disruption tomorrow, but that the terminal’s longer term success would not be based on the first few days of operation.

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